Thursday, 5 April 2018

12th Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners announced

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2017-2018 winners have been announced.

The Literature Award went to Syrian novelist Khalil Sweileh for his Novel Ikhtibar al-nadam (اختبار الندم, Remorse Test) published by Nofal-Hachette Antoine, Beirut (2017), while Emirati author Hessa Al Muhairi was named winner of the Children’s Literature Award for Al-dinoraf (الدينوراف, The Dynoraf) published by Al Hudhud Publishing and Distribution, UAE (2017).

Judges said of Ikhtibar al-nadam: "The novel portrays an inward view of the Syrian civil war tragedy; the author takes the reader on a trip around Damascus, trudging down the memory lanes and presenting the psychological conflicts amid the shattered reality of place and society – marking an important addition to the Syrian literature, with a unique use of narrative tools and vocabulary construction."

 On ’Al-dinoraf judges said: "The story is set in the animal kingdom, where a dinosaur is out on a mission to find his parallel among the rest of animals. Throughout his journey, he gets to know the differences between the animals, which finally lead him to find his connection with the giraffe, hence becoming the Dinoraf, in a unique portrayal of the contemporary case of peaceful coexistence and mutual tolerance of cultural differences within the global society. The story is written in an aesthetic language that is beautiful, artistic and carefully crafted."

In the Young Author category, the Egyptian writer Ahmad Al Qarmalawi won the title for his novel Amtar Sayfiyyah أمطار صيفية<, Summer Rains), published by Maktabat al-Dar al-Arabiyah lil-Kitab, Cairo (2017).

"(Amtar Sayfiyyah)
tackles the interrelations between the music and the soul, and the sublimity of the spirit versus covetousness. The work showed an extensive knowledge in music that creates a tangible setting of melodic notes transcending to that of the Sufism station (مقام, maqaam)," judges said.

Néji Elounelli from Tunisia won the Translation Award for his Arabic translation from of the work of German author Theodor Adorno, Natharayya ‘astiteeqyya (نظرية استيطيقية, Ästhetische Theorie), published by Al-Jamal Publications, Beirut 2017

"The book represents an authentic depiction from the German text that is considered a valued work in philosophy whose author is a prominent figure in the Frankfurt School of thought. The work investigates the theoretical paradigm of aesthetics that shifts the perspective from the traditional theory of knowledge to the critical philosophy in society," noted judges.

The Literary and Art Criticism Award
went to Moroccan academic Mohammad Mishbal, for his work, Fi balaghat al-hajjaj: nahwa balagha hajjajiyyah litahleel al-khitab (في بلاغة الحجاج: نحو مقاربة بلاغية حجاجية لتحليل الخطاب, The Rhetoric of Eloquence), published by Kunouz Al Ma’refa Publishers, Amman (2017).

"The book elaborates on Al Hajjaj connections to the rhetoric and discourse, analysing the foundational strategies in ancient rhetoric up to present-day, in a well versed language, clear analysis and based on extensive bibliography," judges commented.

The Arab Culture in Other Languages Award went to German researcher Dag Nikolaus Hasse for his work Success and Suppression: Arabic Sciences and Philosophy in the Renaissance, published by Harvard Press 2017 while Dar Al-Tanweer (Beirut/Cairo/ Tunisia) won the Publishing and Technology Award.

"The book is a significant work of scholarship that fills in an important gap in modern knowledge: the fact that works in the Arabic sciences and philosophy played an important role in Western Renaissance movement. Hasse monitors the influence of Arabic in the intellectual development, debates and controversies of the Renaissance," said judges.

Judges said Dar Al-Tanweer "is viewed as a luminary institute that contributes generously to spreading the Arabic culture, encouraging authoring and translation. The publishing house continues to assume a leading role in bringing young voices in philosophy and literature to the limelight".
Dr Ali Bin Tamim, the Secretary General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award commented: “The nominations went through a rigourous assessment towards selecting the best of the entire body of works received this year, followed by a series of evaluations lasting for three months by qualified judging panels, to be concluded by the reviews of the scientific committee and the final sign-off by the Award’s Board of Trustees to name the winning titles of the 12th session.

“Throughout the past 12 years, since its inception, the Award has won a reputation of recognising and celebrating the best text in the Arabic literary production, with a deeply rooted transparency engraved on a regional and an international level.”

HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, congratulated the winners for their achievement, stressing that their works deserve the recognition, and adding: “As we mark the Year of Zayed, this is fitting appreciation to the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; crowning this outstanding group of writers, intellectuals, publishers and young talent as winners of an award in his name, and echoing his vision of fostering the sciences to enrich the Arab cultural, literary and social life.”

There was no award for the Contribution to the Development of Nations category this year.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award was inaugurated in 2007, and aims to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture. It carries cash prizes totaling AED7 million – with AED750, 000 per winner in all eight categories. The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a gold medal.


The award ceremony is scheduled on April 30 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.