Sheikh Zayed Literature Award is presented to Maisoon Saqer
on May 12, 2022
Maisoon Saqer, an Emirati novelist, has received the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards' literature prize for her novel Maq'ha Reesh, Ain Ala Massr (Eye on Egypt: Café Riche).
The awards honour "excellent" humanities writing and translation" that enriches Arab intellectual, cultural, literary, and social life." Each of the winners will get 750,000 UAE dirhams (about £165,000).
The novel, published by Nahdet Misr Publishing, is about a famous Cairo cafe that was at the centre of Egypt's social, political, and cultural life in the 20th century. It recounts contemporary Egyptian history and conveys the tale of a country undergoing change.
Dr Muhsin J Al-Musawi, an Iraqi-American professor, won the Arabic Culture in Other Languages Award for his book The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures: Global Commodification, Translation, and the Culture Industry (Cambridge University Press). From Marcel Proust to Walt Disney, Al-Musawi explores the legacy of the evenings among authors, artists, singers, filmmakers, and philosophers, examining their translation and appropriation in the context of colonial legacies.
Loghz al Kora al Zujajiya (The Mystery of the Glass Ball), written by Syrian author Maria Daadoush and published by Dar Al Saqi, was awarded the Children's Literature Award. Set in 2021, it narrates the story of a young boy and girl who meet on a desert train trip and go on a series of daring adventures, facing outlaws bent on destroying the natural life of an oasis.
The prize for translation went to Egyptian translator and author Dr Ahmed Aladawi for his translation from English into Arabic of the late George Makdisi's Nash'at al Insaniyat Einda al Muslimeen wa fi al Gharb al Maseehi (The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West). The book investigates how Western thought may be traced back to the mediaeval Islamic world. Dr. Aladawi's translation, published by Madarat for Research & Publishing, was praised for striking a balance between faithfulness to the original text and a desire to adhere to the essence of the Arabic language.
Moroccan author Mohamed Aldahi won Literary and Art Criticism for his book Al Sarid wa Taw'am al Rooh: Min al Tamtheel ila al Istinaa' (The Narrator and the Soulmate: From Acting to Faking), published by Le Centre Culturel du Livre. The book discusses the changing connection between the author and the narrator in autobiographical works from antiquity to the present.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt) received the prize for Publishing and Technology in appreciation of its worldwide digital archive and academic Embassies of Knowledge initiative, which provides resources for students and scholars.
The award's ongoing translation grant, aimed at foreign publishers, will make the winning and nominated titles in the Children's Literature and Literature categories eligible for translation support.
"We are thrilled to have had another record-breaking year of entries, which comprised rigorous research, innovative authoring, authoritative publishing and programming," said Dr Ali bin Tamim, head of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre and secretary-general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The work of this year's laureates demonstrates great intellectual, linguistic, and creative diversity, pointing to a flourishing modern Arab literary scene. We are especially thrilled to exhibit winners from seven nations across the world and to promote Arabic culture on the global arena by recognising and encouraging the worldwide progress of Arabic literature and culture in both Arabic and non-Arabic languages."
The prizes will be presented in a ceremony at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on May 24th, coinciding with the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which runs from May 23rd to May 29th.