The Arab World’s most sought-after prize made the announcement in a press conference held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of H.E. Mohammad Khalaf Al mazrouei, member of the award’s board of trustees and Advisor for Culture and Heritage in the Court of HH the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, HE Jumaa Al Qubaisi, member of the Board of Trustees of Sheikh Zayed Book Award and Executive Director of the National Library, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, the Award’s Secretary General.
In his statement, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim named the winners approved by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) board of trustees headed by HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Head of TCA Abu Dhabi:
‘Contribution to the Development of Nations’ Award
Contemporary Arab Thought (Al Fikr al ‘arabi al Mu’aser)
Elizabeth Kassab from Lebanon
Published by Centre for Arab Unity Studies, Beirut 2012
In her book, Kassab explores approaches to questions of cultural malaise in the Arab world, asks about the relationship between cultural crisis and politics in intellectual debate, and finally, endeavors to compare these approaches and debates to related conversations in other postcolonial regions. Contemporary Arab Thought is a work of intellectual history that seeks to understand the process of “cultural decolonization” within the Arab context. This goal is accomplished first through the survey and analysis of major trends and thinkers, and then through the application of a comparative perspective that brings the Arab world into conversation with Africa, the United States, Europe, and Latin America.
The’ Young Author’ Award
‘Falsafat Jeel Deleuze’ (Deleuze philosophy on Existentialism and Difference)
Adil Hadjami from Morocco
Published by Dar Toubkal, Casablanca 2012.
This study examines the life and work of the French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995) and the origins of his philosophy. It explores the epistemological, ontological and axiological dimensions of the philosophical works unveiling Deuleuze’s core interpretations, and tracks its historical timeline. It also compares and contrasts his theories with respect to the concepts he argued, and underlines the foundation of his philosophy which spins around questioning inversion of the traditional metaphysical relationship between identity and difference. And perhaps what is new about this study is the style the author adopted to explore Deleuze’s philosophy, which stemmed from the original works of the philosopher in the first place, then tying it with the other philosophical works preceding his own, starting from Greek works through the Middle Ages and Renaissance until the present time. The author successfully quoted from the works of Delueze in French to Arabic using immaculate narration and scientifically accurate language.
Being and Time (German: Sein und Zeit, 1927) by Martin Heidegger.
Translated into Arabic by Fathi Meskini from Tunisia
Published by Dar al Kitab Al Jadid , Beirut 2012.
Fathi Meskini translated the most important work of Martin Heidegger which has profoundly influenced 20th-century philosophy, particularly existentialism, hermeneutics and deconstruction. Hence, this is one of the most important philosophical references to be translated in its entirety to Arabic language for the first time. And Despite the philosophical composition of the original work, the translator was able to present it in a clear, accurate and sophisticated language, in combination with in-text references and footnotes that defines all terms and expressions in Arabic, English and German. The translator is also a professor of German philosophy with a record of authored and translated works in European philosophy, especially German. The Arabic library is in dire need for such a scientific resource which is expected to be a core reference for all Arab scholars of philosophy.
‘Literary and Art Criticism’ Award
‘Al Takhayol Al Tarikhi’ (Historic Visualization)
Abdullah Ibrahim from Iraq
Published by Arab Association for Studies and Publishing, Beirut 2011
A solemn scientific work in contemporary literary criticism, analyzing the relation between the narration construct and the historical references entwined with it. The study seeks to unveil the semantic and aesthetic aspects of Contemporary Arabic historical novel. Highlighting that historians, literary critics and novelists alike are increasingly drawing attention to parallels between literature and socio-historical issues. The author argues how literary discourse may differ from historical discourse by virtue of primary referents, conceived as imaginary rather than real events, and how the two kinds of discourse are more similar than different by providing thorough analysis to the influence of controversial novels published in various religions and political themes such as Yousef Zaidan’s’ Azazil’ and ‘Nabati’ and Rabee Jaber’s ‘Beirut, The city of the World’.
‘Arab Culture in Non-Arabic Languages’ Award
‘Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights’
Writer and Critic Marina Warner from UK
Published by Vintage Books (2012) and Chatto and Windus in 2011.
The author is one of the distinguished cultural historians in the world on the subject of myth, fairytale and folk narrative and art. Her book tells the story of the Arabian Nights in Western Civilization from a thoroughly new and, until recently, little understood angle. Warner retells a number of the tales in her own words with a verve that brings them to life in contemporary idiom. Upon these retellings she constructs a nuanced view of the ways in which the benign magic and enchantment of the stories affected the reception and ideas of magic and enchantment in the West, even during the period of the Enlightenment – a period more naturally associated with reason and science. She is thoroughly versed in the complex history of the Nights corpus and constructs upon this foundation a new vision of the way the West has been in thrall to images and ideas from Arab, and more generally Eastern culture in the 18th through to the 20th century.
‘Publishing and Technology’ Award
National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature, Kuwait
The Council deals with cultural affairs, arts and literature, founded in 1973. One of the council’s mandates is working on the development of intellectual production and enrichment not only at the country’s level but throughout the Arab region. The council produces a range of all-time publications, periodicals and books, including the World Series of Knowledge (a monthly book which went to publication in 1978 and has more than 400 issues to date); the World Series of Theatre (first published in 1969, and included a large number of internationally renowned theatrical scripts which drew the attention of many creative writers and novelists throughout the Arab World as it publicly introduced more than 365 scripts to date). The Magazine of World Thought (a quarterly magazine which has been published since 1970 to date with close to 42 volumes); the World Series of Creativity (which introduce the most famous theatrical scripts of World Stages, with more than 393 scripts to date); the Art Journal (a monthly production about the audio visual art, which went to publication in 2001, and has a stock of more than 138 issues to date); and the Magazine of World Culture (a publication of the National Council on a variety of cultural topics. It has an approximate 169 issues to date). The council also arranges several cultural activities annually such as: Al-Qurain Festival, an annual book fair, a cultural festival for children, and a music festival.
‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ Award
The award went to Grand Imam, Dr. Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al Tayyeb who is also an academic and researcher, for his role in adopting the moderate path and encouraging a culture of tolerance, dialogue and protection of the civil society. He has demonstrated through his many influential positions and publications moderation away from extremism and portrayed Islamic thought and consistently refused violence and aggression, in words, thoughts or actions between peoples.
Biography Grand Imam of the Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al Tayeb was appointed as Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar in March 2010, after the passing of his predecessor, Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi. Al Tayeb was formerly the president of the Al Azhar for seven years and prior to that, served for two years as the most powerful cleric in Egypt as its Grand Mufti. His scholarly influence as a leading intellectual of spans the globe. He has served as the dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Aswan, and the theology faculty of the International Islamic University in Pakistan. He has also taught in universities in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The Awards for “Literature” and “Children’s Literature” were withheld for the seventh session as this year’s nominations in these categories did not meet the Award’s standards and criteria for winning.
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s first installment was 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 204,217,50) in all eight categories (including the Arab Culture in non- Arabic languages category), in addition to Dhs1 million for the Cultural Personality of the Year. The winners also receive a certificate of merit and a Gold Medal.
The seventh session witnessed a record of nominations amounting to 1262 across the Award’s nine categories – doubling over last session’s record. The winners will be celebrated on April 28, 2013 in a grand award ceremony to take place in ADNEC hall A at 8:00 pm.
BIOGRAPHY OF WINNERS
Contribution to the Development of Nations Award
Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab studied business administration and philosophy at the American University of Beirut, and continued her graduate studies in philosophy at Fribourg University in Switzerland. She spent three years as a post-doctorate fellow at the University of Bielefeld in Germany. She returned to Beirut in 1991 and taught for many years at the philosophy department in AUB, and later at Balamand University. In 1999 she was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to work on her research project at the New School University in New York. After that she was Visiting Scholar at Columbia University for several years and a Visiting Associate Professor at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies in 2006-07. Since 2012 Kassab is a Mellon Visiting Professor at the Cogut Center for the Humanities of Brown University in USA.
Fathi Meskini was born in the city of Jendouba, Tunisia in 1961. He received his doctorate degree in philosophy in 2003. He authored numerous books which were highly lauded by his peers, including: ‘Hiegel and the end of metaphysics’ published in Tunisia 1997, ‘Identity and Time’ published in Beirut, 2001, ‘Critique of Hermeneutical Reason’ published in Beirut, 2005, ‘Identity and Freedom’ published in Beirut, 2011, ‘Thinking Post Heidegger’ published in Beirut, 2011. Meskini also published many translations including ‘The Geneology of Morals’ by Frederick Nietzsche, Tunisia, 2010, and Kant’s ‘Theory of Mind’ , Beirut, 2012, and others. Meskini has published studies in French and German in addition to Arabic language.
Young Author Award
Adil Hadjami was born in Morocco in 1967, he studied philosophy in Mohamed V University and graduated in 1999. He has a PhD in philosophy and social and is currently a lecturer in Mohamed V University. Hadjami is competent in ancient Latin and Greek languages, he plays the Oud instrument and has obtained a Diploma in the Theory of Music from the National Conservatoire Institute in Rabat, Morocco. The winning book is Hadjami’s dissertation which he defended successfully to obtain his PhD.
Literary and Art Criticism Award
Abdullah Ibrahim is a researcher and academic from Iraq, holds a doctorate degree in Literary Criticism and Ancient Arabic Literature Studies from Baghdad University since 1991, he worked at several universities in Iraq, Libya and Qatar. Dr Ibrahim participated in numerous conferences and literary seminars. He received the Shuman Prize for Social Humanities in 1997. Dr. Ibrahim specializes in studies of narrative, literary criticism and cross cultural dialogues. He has more than 14 published books, and 30 scientific papers in leading trade magazines.
Arab Culture in non-Arabic Languages Award
Marina Warner is a writer of fiction and cultural history. Warner was brought up in Egypt, Belgium, and Cambridge, England. She is specialized in mythology and fairy-tales, with an emphasis on the part women play in them. Her award-winning books include” Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary” (1976), “Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism” (l982), “From the Beast to the Blonde” (1994). In l994 she gave the BBC Reith Lectures on the theme of Six Myths of Our Time. Her recent books include “Stranger Magic Charmed States” and “The Arabian Nights”. She also writes fiction: “The Lost Father” (l988). Warner is a Fellow of the British Academy and currently works as a Professor of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Warner’s forthcoming books include: “The Symbol Gives Rise to Thought Writings on Art Violette Editions”, and “Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction” Oxford University Press, 2014.
Publishing and Technology Award
National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature in Kuwait
The Council deals with cultural affairs, arts and literature, founded in 1973 in Kuwait. One of the council’s mandates is working on the development of intellectual production and enrichment not only at the country’s level but throughout the Arab region. The council produced a range of all-time publications, periodicals and books, including the popular: World Series of Knowledge. The council also arranges several cultural activities annually such as: Qurain Festival, an annual bookFair, the culture Festival children, and music festival.
Cultural Personality of the Year Award
Grand Imam of the Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al Tayeb was appointed as Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar in March 2010, after the passing of his predecessor, Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi. Al Tayeb was formerly the president of the Al Azhar for seven years and prior to that, served for two years as the most powerful cleric in Egypt as its Grand Mufti. His scholarly influence as a leading intellectual of spans the globe. He has served as the dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Aswan, and the theology faculty of the International Islamic University in Pakistan. He has also taught in universities in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.