The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the most prestigious and well-funded prizes in the Arab World, announced its winners for the year (2010-2011) .The winners were named in five distinct categories, while four other categories were withheld for this year.
The announcement of winners came after discussions at large between the Award’s Higher Committee and Advisory Council of the results submitted by the judging panels across the Award’s nine Categories. The judges independently evaluated a total of 715 nominations received in this year’s session and submitted their evaluations against a stringent, quantifiable scoring criterion to ensure the decision is truly reflective of their independent and expert views.
The award – carrying the name of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who served as the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE for over 30 years- was established in 2006 to foster greater scholarship and creativity by recognizing and rewarding innovators and thinkers in areas of knowledge, arts and humanities.
The award recognizes cultural achievement across one of the broadest and most diverse areas of any cultural awards internationally. The “Cultural Personality of the Year” honours prominent figures for their unique contributions to the advancement of the Arabic culture, and for works that portray tolerance and promote peaceful coexistence.
“Professor Chung has implemented one of the finest models of cultural dialogue. The Award’s Advisory Council decision came in recognition of his generous contribution for more than fifty years in rooting the Arabic language in the Far East, by teaching, translating and researching our region’s culture and literature.” Mr. Al Oraimi elaborated. “His translations and writings preserve the essence of our literature across continents, only wrapped in a different language.”
Chung is the author of the ‘ History of Arabic Literature’ encyclopedia, which comprises 1140 pages in two volumes. He currently works in various capacities, among which are Professor of Arabic Language in the University of Peking, head of Chinese Society for Arabic Literature Studies, vice president of the Culture Committee at the China-Arab Friendship Association, member of the Chinese Writers Association, and honorary member of the Arab Writers Union. He has also translated major works of iconic Arab novelists including Kahlil Jibran, Naguib Mahfouz, and Ih’san Abdul Quddus.
The winner of the Cultural Personality of the Award will receive a prize of one million Dirhams (around 272,242 US$, 215,007 Euros), a gold medal bearing the Sheikh Zayed Book Award logo, and a certificate of merit.
Winners in the Award’s other categories will receive around US$ 204,182 (Euros 161,255), a gold medal and a certificate of merit.
The 2011 Sheikh Zayed Book Award Winners as per the Judges results succeeded for the below reasons:
1. Best Contribution to the Development of Nations – Dr. Abdel Raouf Sinno from Lebanon for his book “Harb Lubnan 1975-1990”. The Award’s Advisory Council’s decision came in recognition of the value of the book as an accurate resource on the historical era of Lebanon from 1975 through 1990, providing an in-depth scientific analysis of the socio-economic circumstances leading to the disintegration of the country’s structure, culture and economy.
2. Best Book in Literature: Dr. Mohammad Miftah from Morocco, for his book “Mafaheem Muwasa’a Li Nazaryah Shi’ryah” – comprises of three Volumes. The Award’s Advisory Council’s decision came in recognition of the immense value of the author’s work, combining descriptive, analytical and exploratory methodologies in one scientific study of linguistics, music and psychology, in an attempt to establish a theory that links poetry to mysterious forces of the universe.
3. Best Book in Translation – Dr. Mohammad Ziyad Kibbeh from Syria, for his book “Al Tharwah wa Iqtisad Al Ma’rifah” – Translated from “Revolutionary Wealth” by Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Random House 2007. The translated reference offers solutions to critical contemporary quandaries which the winning translator has successfully communicated using excellent language while preserving the essence of the original script.
4. Children’s Literature – Afaf Tabbalah from Egypt, for her book “Al Bayt Wal Nakhlah”. The winning book was named a sophisticated diversion from the children’s literature “mainstream”. It explores the inner worlds of children, in a masterful story-telling style, leaving ample room for the young readers to view their surroundings in light of they read.
Meanwhile, awards for “Young Author”, “Fine Arts”, “Publishing and Distribution”, and “Best Technology in the Field of Culture” were withheld for this session. “This year’s nominations in these categories did not meet the Award’s stringent standards and the Advisory Council opted to withhold them as a result.” Al Oraimi explained.
The winner will be announced at the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Grand Ceremony wards ceremony to be held in The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on March 16, 2011, parallel to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.