Winners of the  2020 Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced

Winners of the 2020 Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced

The winners of the 2020 Sheikh Zayed Book Award have been announced, with the UK's Banipal magazine among the seven category winners.

The award recognises "some of the most challenging and exciting work coming out of the Arab world engaging with its culture, including both literary and scholarly works", and each winner receives 750,000 UAE dirhams (US$204,000). 

Independent magazine Banipal, which showcases contemporary Arab authors in English translation has won in the Publishing & Technology category.

Meanwhile the prize for Literature is awarded to Tunisian poet Moncef Ouhaibi for his book The Penultimate Cup (Meskeliani Publishing & Distribution) and marks the first time the prize has been received for poetry in this category.

Hayder Qasim is the recipient of the Young Author prize for his academic text Islamic Theology in the Studies of German Orientalists (Al Rawafed Culture Publishers, Ibn al-Nadim Publishing & Distribution.) His book reviews the work of German theologist Joseph van Ess, investigating how German academics have interpreted and represented Islamic theology through the lens of Orientalism.

He is joined by Ibtisam Barakat, who receives the Children's Literature prize for her illustrated story The Lilac Girl (Tamer Institute for Community Education) and Dutch author, translator, and scholar Richard van Leeuwen, recipient of the prize for Arabic culture in other languages, for his book The Thousand and One Nights and Twentieth Century Fiction: Intertextual Readings (Brill Publishers.)

The award for Translation goes to Mohamed Ait Mihoub, for providing "a new audience with access to a seminal book in Western philosophy and the human sciences." Mihoub translated L’homme romantique by French philosopher Georges Gusdorf, from French to Arabic (Dracher Sinatra/Tunis Institute for Translation.)

This year's cultural personality of the year prize was awarded to 94-year-old Palestinian poet, writer, translator and anthologist Salma Khadra Jayyusi, for "her profound contribution to Arabic literature and culture". Her literary achievements include editing Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology; Modern Arabic Poetry and The Legacy of Muslim Spain, among others.

The awards will be presented via a livestream video on 16th April, which replaces the ceremony that would have been held at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Dr Ali bin Tamim, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Authority and secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, said of this year’s winners: "We are proud through these awards to highlight the cultural endeavours that are happening all over the world with the shared mission of developing Arabic culture.

"From works exploring the significant influence of The Arabian Nights on Western literature and Western representations of Islamist theology, to the incredible efforts of our Cultural Personality of the Year and Banipal magazine in promoting Arabic literature in translation, this year’s winners represent the connectedness of Arab culture to a global network of understanding and scholarship.

"Through this prize, we hope they can further their achievements and go forth to inspire the next generation of makers, intellectuals, creators, publishers, and youth in the Middle East and the world at large."