The Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced today the names of the winners of its eleventh session (2016 - 2017) in the categories of ‘Literature’, ‘Contribution to the Development of Nations’, ‘Children’s Literature’, ‘Translation’, ‘Literary and Art Criticism’, ‘Arabic Culture in Other Languages’, and ‘Publishing and Technology’.
The announcement came after extensive discussions by the Award’s Board of Trustees and Scientific Committee of the results submitted by the referees across the Award’s nine categories.
On this occasion, Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Award, said: “The creative achievements of this session were characterised by their depiction of current pressing issues facing the world, including religious text, Arabic philosophy, technology and terrorism. The successful works won the award due to their impact on Arab culture and social life.
“On behalf of the board of trustees and the scientific committee, the award wishes to congratulate the winners and encourage those candidates who have not won yet, to participate again in future sessions,” he added.
The winning titles are:
First: The ‘Literature’ Award
‘Khareef al Bara’a’ (The Autumn of Innocence) by the Lebanese author Abbas Beydoun, published by Dar Al Saqi (2016)
The novel deals with the conflict between a tyrannical father who terrorises a certain village and his son, who looks for a life of love and enjoyment. The conflict between them escalates to the extent that the father succeeds in having his son killed. The novel utilises excellent narrative techniques such as its shifting use of pronouns. Its symbolic structure is also distinguished, for the village stands for the majority of the Arab countries. The symbolic use of names in the novel contributes to its wealth. It embodies the conflict between those who stand for love and freedom and those who stand for tyranny and terror.
Second: The ‘Contribution to the Development of Nations’ Award
‘Al Islam wal Insan’ (Islam and the Human Being) by Mohammad Chahrour from Syria, published by Dar Al Saqi (2016)
The book is a sophisticated intellectual project that discusses the fundamental concepts of belief, social conscience, and religious allegiance, in an attempt to re-examine texts in light of reformist concepts (such as freedom, nationalism and faith) that steer away from struggles and disagreements leading to current tainted view of Islam.
Third: The ‘Children’s Literature’ Award
‘Bila qubba’a’ (Hatless) by Lateefa Buti from Kuwait, published by Seedan Media – Kuwait (2015)
The book has an imaginative and inspiring story line. It adopts higher values of mutual coexistence and acceptance of differences, with both other humans and the surrounding natural setting, in a way that unleashes the children’s thought process and ignites their creativity.
Fourth: The ‘Translation’ Award
‘Averroés: Le Philosophe Et La Loi - Ibn Rushd’ translated from Arabic to French by Lebanese/ French Ziad Bou Akel, published by De Gruyter, Berlin (2015)
The winning work is a translation of Ibn Rushd’s ‘Philosophy and Religion’ into French. The translator skillfully conveyed Quranic terms and expressions into modern French, producing a scholarly work in the jurisprudence (Fiqh) of Ibn Rushd. What stands out is the significance of the translator’s efforts not only in translating a priceless work in Arabic philosophy, but in the larger context of reaching out to other civilisations to stimulate a constructive dialogue.
Fifth: The ‘Literary and Art Criticism’ Award
‘Fā‘iliyyat al-Khayāl al-Adabī’ (The Validity of Literary Fiction) by the Iraqi/Australian scholar Said Al Ghanimi, published by Al Kamel Verlag (2015)
The book has been named the winning title for its distinctive topic addressing the mythological and philosophical narratives of Mesopotamia, as well as its solid bibliographical base and excellent intellectual critical style and rich vocabulary.
Sixth: The ‘Arabic Culture in Other Languages’ Award
‘Vom Denken der Natur zur Natur des Denkens’ by David Wirmer
The work is considered a pioneering attempt in presenting the valuable contribution of the Andalusia Philosopher, Ibn Bâjja, in transmitting Aristotle’s philosophy to the Western World. It also authentically showcases the influence of Aristotle on Ibn Bajja by translating some of his works, therefore highlighting the author’s scholarly effort with an excellent German translation.
Seventh: The ‘Publishing and Technology’ Award
‘Kalimat Group’, Sharjah, UAE
Founded by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Kalimat is the first publishing house in UAE dedicated to publishing quality Arabic children’s books maintaining international standards. Within three years, Kalimat published over 50 books ranging from picture books, for younger age groups with a portfolio of untraditional topics; including tales from our old heritage. Kalimat publications are distinguished by their first class illustrations and attractive designs. Kalimat is a cultural project which aims at building a progressive and enlightened future.
As for the “Young Author” category, it was withheld for this session as this year’s nominations in this category did not meet the Award’s standards and criteria for winning.
The winner of the ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ will be announced later, to be followed by the annual grand ceremony to be held during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on April 30, 2016, at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award was inaugurated in 2007, intended to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture. It carries cash prizes totaling Dhs7 million - with Dh750,000 per winner (equivalent to USD 204,231.68) in all eight categories (including the Arab Culture in Other Languages category). The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a Gold Medal.