Sheikh Zayed Book Award Co-organises a translation programme with British Centre for Literary Translation and the UK’s National Centre for Writing

Abu Dhabi,

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has announced the co-organisation of a translation programme with two prestigious UK literary organisations.

The initiative with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) of the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing aims to strengthen cultural dialogue and promote the Award’s translation grant.

Running until 31 May 2023, the 18-month programme will provide access to a network of Arab translators in the UK and around the world, raise awareness of the SZBA’s Translation grant, facilitate communication with publishers interested in translation, and highlight the SZBA’s mandate.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award will jointly organise an Arabic-to-English literary translation workshop during the 23rd edition of the British Centre for Literary Translation’s Summer School from 17 to 22 July 2022. The one-week programme will bring together writers and translators from around the world with literary translator Nariman Youssef, Director of Arabic Translation at the British Library, as moderator. SZBA will also support a mentorship programme for one emerging Arabic-to-English translator and a six-month orientation programme for an emerging professional literary translator.

HE Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC and Secretary-General of the SZBA, said: “This initia-tive will strengthen collaborative efforts with our partners in the UK to promote Arabic transla-tion around the world. It will expand the scope of cultural exchange between the East and the West by translating notable literary works that advance the Arabic language on the global stage and promote its greatest works among non-Arabic speakers. This supports objectives of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre to present Arabic as a language of culture, science, and innova-tion around the world, allow us to identify new talent in the translation field and create an ex-tensive pool of international translators.”

Professor Duncan Large, Academic Director of the British Centre for Literary Translation, said: “At BCLT we are delighted to be collaborating with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in offering this exciting professional development opportunity to Arabic-English literary translators. We look forward to hosting an Arabic-English translation workshop at our annual Summer School for the first time in over a decade, and this initiative will enable translators to attend, irrespec-tive of their circumstances. We expect plenty of high-quality applications." 

Kate Griffin, Associate Head of Programmes at the National Centre for Writing, said: “We are very pleased to participate in or-ganising this programme with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award to offer a talented early-career Arabic-English translator a place on our Emerging Translators Mentorship Scheme in 2022. We thank the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for its support, enabling us to work together with BCLT to nurture a new generation of literary translators from Arabic into English.”

The long-term initiative will provide access to an extended network of translators and academ-ics in the United Kingdom to encourage more interest in the translation grant and ‘Translation’ category of the SZBA. It will also create an alumni network of Arabic literary translators in the UK, develop an initiative in collaboration with the British Centre for Literary Translation, and publish an Arabic anthology that includes works by graduates from the Centre’s Summer School, as well as interns.

The British Centre for Literary Translation is a research centre affiliated with the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, where it supports a Master’s degree in Literary Translation and an extensive doctoral research programme. The National Writing Centre is a hub for creative writing and literary translation in the UK. Both organisations are renowned and influential international stakeholders in the promotion of literary translation and creative writing. 

The National Writing Centre’s Emerging Translators Mentorship Scheme has been held for 10 consecutive years, during which time it has mentored nearly 100 budding literary translators in more than 30 languages.