The 14th edition of Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 ceremony held via online

The 14th edition of Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 took place in Abu Dhabi recently. This is one of the most prestigious and lucrative literary prizes awarded in seven different categories.

In a record-breaking year for submissions, the awards went to recipients from six different countries (UK, US, The Netherlands, Iraq, Tunisia and Palestine), highlighting the global imprint and influence of Arabic writing and culture. 

Each winner received prize money of 750,000 UAE dirhams (204,000 USD) to both recognise and further enable their creative and cultural achievements.

The annual award aims to recognise some of the most challenging and exciting work coming out of the Arab world or engaging with its culture, including both literary and scholarly works. Writers, translators, academics, and publishers from around the world are awarded for their exceptional contributions to advancing Arabic literature and culture.

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairperson of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi said, “The mission of our organisation is to nurture and promote culture in all its forms, and it is with great satisfaction that we have seen the Sheikh Zayed Book Award grow and flourish year on year. This incredibly successful 14th edition boasts a roster of talented and distinguished winners who have made significant contributions to the cause of furthering and disseminating Arabic culture.

The 14th Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2020 winners are:

Literature was awarded to Tunisian poet Moncef Ouhaibi for his book Belkas ma Qabl Al Akheera  (The Penultimate Cup).   

Young Author was awarded to Iraqi writer and academic Hayder Qasim for his book Ilm Al Kalam Al Islami fi Derasat al Mustashrikeen Al Alman (Islamic Theology in the Studies of German Orientalists). 

Children’s Literature was awarded to Palestinian-American author Ibtisam Barakat for her book Al-Fatah Al-Laylakeyyah (The Lilac Girl).

Cultural Personality of the Year was awarded to Palestinian poet, writer, translator and anthologist Salma Khadra Jayyusi for her profound contribution to Arabic literature and culture.

Publishing & Technology was awarded to Banipal Magazine in London, UK. The independent magazine showcases contemporary Arab authors in English translation, from wherever they are writing and publishing. The magazine was founded in 1988 by Margaret Obank and Iraqi author Samuel Shimon and publishes three issues per year, alongside an active online platform. 

Arabic Culture in Other Languages was awarded to the Dutch author, translator, and scholar Richard van Leeuwen for his book The Thousand and One Nights and Twentieth-Century Fiction: Intertextual Readings. The book reveals how the Arabic collection of stories provided an endless resource for some of the most important authors of the 20th century, including both highbrow and popular writers.

The translation was awarded to the Tunisian translator and academic, Mohamed Ait Mihoub for Al-Insan Al-Romantiq (L’homme romantique) by French philosopher Georges Gusdorf, translated from French to Arabic. The book explores the key tenets of Romanticism and their impact on Western thought, culture and civilisation, including physics and medical science in particular. Mihoub’s translation provides a new audience with access to a seminal book in Western philosophy and the human sciences.

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