Sheikh Zayed Book Award launches Translation Initiative

Abu Dhabi,

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced the launch of a Translation Initiative in cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair N.Y branch, aiming to support publishing houses in translating the Award’s winning titles into English, French and German.

The initiative comes as part of the action plan in response to the recommendations materialising out of the Translators' Seminar held in London last year towards providing appropriate support and awareness of Arab authors and literary works. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “This year is witnessing the 12th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, marking more than a decade of the hard work and effort that has laid the foundation for a cultural and literary landmark that seeks to celebrate creative literary scholars and intellectuals. The Award has always been characterised by its openness to international cultures and encouraging remarkable cultural activity at both Arab and international levels. As part of the Department’s initiatives that celebrate the Year of Zayed, I am delighted to be taking part today in signaling another big step along the march of excellence, a strategic partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair Office in New York.”

“This partnership is aimed at encouraging translations from Arabic into other languages and spreading Arab culture in the West, thus strengthening the position of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award among international awards as an incubator of Arab culture and promoter of dialogue among civilizations”, Ghobash added. “There is no more active partner than the Frankfurt Book Fair, with a history going back five centuries. Therefore, I am honoured to launch this initiative today, in the hope and expectation that it will achieve its goals and open up new levels of excellence in the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.”

HE Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of the Award, said: “The partnership of Sheikh Zayed Book Award with the Frankfurt Book Fair stems from our overarching vision to consistently support the constructive cultural communication between Arabic and other languages, as well as to continue bolstering the developing translation activities within the Arab world. Representing the cherished values of the Award’s mission during the nation’s celebration of the Year of Zayed, this collaboration signifies the endeavours towards enriching cultures and arts, combining tradition and modernity, encouraging cultural openness, diversity, and acceptance of the other. From there springs our deep belief in the role of translation in promoting dialogue among civilisations and building the spirit of convergence among nations, reflecting what we strive for in this strategic partnership, which will be pivotal to realising the vision and objectives of the Award.”

From his side, Juergen Boos, President of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said: “Looking at the previous editions of the Award and their winners' records, and given my position as president of the Frankfurt Book Fair, member of the Award’s Scientific Committee and follower of its journey since its inception, I can verily say that the Award has undoubtedly become an international cultural platform, operating at the same level as other major literary awards. In that light, the Award’s objectives combined with our endeavors have led to the crystallisation of this strategic partnership, which aims to facilitate the translation of the winning titles into German, English and French.”

And added: “This helps raise awareness internationally regarding the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, in addition to promoting the Award’s work and winners at the cultural and literary international events, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair. We are very happy to enter into this partnership, as we look forward to continuing co-operation with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, in light of the eminence of our message, which strives to establish sophisticated communication among civilisations.”

The agreement also includes promoting the Award’s winning titles among international publishing houses, with a special focus on both categories; Literature and Children’s Literature. Additionally, the agreement endorses the establishment of a representation office for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award at Frankfurt Book Fair, to raise awareness of Abu Dhabi’s cultural initiatives, and promoting Sheikh Zayed Book Award at a global level. The agreement was signed during the meetings of the Award’s Scientific Committee, which were held between 21-23 February to review the reports of the judging panels for the nominations of the Award’s 12th session in preparation for the announcement of short-lists and the winners within the coming weeks.