Sheikh Zayed Book Award Allocates Six Grants for the Translation of Winning Titles

Abu Dhabi,

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) – part of the De-partment of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi – has awarded six grants for the translation of five win-ning Arabic-language titles which have been published into English, German, French, Georgian and Ukranian, in collaboration with four international publishers. The announcement was made as literary circles celebrated UNESCO World Arabic Language Day, observed on 18 December each year.

The translation grants are awarded to international publishers that issue works in foreign languages and are interested in translating SZBA-winning or shortlisted titles in the Children’s Literature and Lit-erature categories. 

Three of the translated works are from the Award’s Children’s Literature category: 2017 winner ‘Hat-less’ by Kuwaiti author Lateefah Boti, translated into English by Nancy Roberts in collaboration with Darf Publishers; 2020 winner ‘Lilac Girl’ by Palestinian-American author Ibtisam Barakat, translated into German by Suleman Taufiq in collaboration with German publisher Sujet Verlag; and 2014 win-ner‘Thirty Poems for Children’ by Lebanese poet Jawdat Fakhreddine, translated into French by Leila Tahir and into English by Huda Fakhreddine, in collaboration with Bookland Press.

From the Literature category, the two translated titles are 2018 winner ‘Remorse Test’ by Syrian author Khalil Sweileh, translated into German by Suleman Taufiq in collaboration with Sujet Verlag as well as into Ukrainian by Oksana Prokhorovych at Nora-Druk Publishers, and 2015 winner ‘The Madmen of Bethlehem’ by Palestinian author Osama Alaysa, which was translated into Georgian by Darejan Garda-vadze in collaboration with Intelekti Publishing.

“We have published the translations this year in parallel with the recent celebration of UNESCO World Arabic Language Day 2021 under the slogan ‘Arabic Language: A Bridge Between Civilisations’,” said His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and ALC Chairman. “Translation is a powerful instrument of intercultural and civilisational communication; it plays an im-portant role in transporting peoples’ cultures, heritage, and literary outcomes to other languages and civilisations. The translation grant provided by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award serves to strengthen this aspect of cross-border communication among the peoples of the world, all the while promoting the spread of Arab literature and culture internationally.”

Madjid Mohit, Publisher and CEO of Sujet Verlag in Germany, said: “With the significant support we have received from the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, we hope to establish dialogue between German and Arabic speakers by presenting Arabic voices in German to German-speaking audiences. Our com-mon goal is to shed more light on Arabic literature and build bridges between the Arab and German worlds.”

Robert Morgan, Publisher at Bookland Press in Canada, said: “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s transla-tion grant gives Bookland Press and other publishing houses access to popular works by contemporary Arab authors. And by publishing translated books from the Arab World, we can expose North Ameri-can readers to new voices, new perspectives, and innovative new ideas.”

Gvantsa Jobava, Editor and International Relations Manager at Intelekti Publishing in Georgia, said: “In the 25 years since its establishment, Intelekti Publishing has introduced several works by renowned contemporary Arab writers to the Georgian market, including novels like ‘Miramar’, ‘Rhadopis’, and ‘Children of Gebelawi’ by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, as well as ‘Gold Dust’ by Libyan writer Ibrahim al-Koni, ‘B as in Beirut’ by Lebanese author Iman Humaydan Younes, and ‘Death Is Hard Work’ by Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa. All of these works were appreciated and ad-mired by Georgian readers, which gives us confidence that modern Arabic literature offers an interest-ing read for the Georgian people.”

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award launched its translation grant programme in 2018, offering up to USD 19,000 in financing, to promote and distribute Arabic literature around the world.