Sheikh Zayed Book Award Sets Rich Agenda for Participation in Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2023

Abu Dhabi,

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA), organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is set to participate in the 32nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 22 to 28 May, with a rich agenda of cultural and literary events bringing together prominent intellectuals and publishers from around the world.

The SZBA’s programme for the Fair begins with a panel discussion bringing together the winners of the Award’s 17th edition to discuss their works that enriched Arabic literature. The session will be chaired by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC and Secretary-General of the SZBA, with Prof. Dr. Khalil Al-Sheikh, Member of the SZBA Scientific Committee, as moderator. The winning participants are Ali Jaafar Alallaq, Literature category; Chokri Al-Saadi, Translation category; Mathieu Tillier, Arab Culture in Other Languages category; Dr. Jalila Al Tritar, Arts and Literary Criticism category; Said Khatibi, Young Author category; Fatima Al Boudi, representing ElAin Publishing, winner of the Publishing & Technology category; and musician Omar Khairat, the 2023 Cultural Personality of the Year. The session will take place on 23 May at 6pm at Bursa Stage, Hall 12. The panel discussion will be followed by a book signing ceremony with the winners at 7:30pm at the Book Signing Corner, Hall 11.

The SZBA is also set to host a discussion with two winners of the SZBA 2023, in collaboration with the Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. Moderated by Prof. Hana Sobhi, Professor of Literature and French Language at the University, the session will see Art and Literary Criticism winner Dr. Jalila Al Tritar talk about her book Mara i an-Nisaa: Dirasat fi Kitabat al-That an-Nisaa iya al-Aarabiya (Women Views: Studies on Arab Women Self Writings. The book is broken down into three chapters where the author explores the biographies of female Arab writers, strategies for writing the female self, and the question of identity and the dilemma of writing the self in women’s autobiographies.  The session will also feature Algerian novelist Said Khatibi, winner of the Young Author category for his novel Nehayat Al Sahra’a (End of the Desert), who will discuss the originality of its narrative technique, and the events, reality, and imagination in the book. The event will be held on 24 May at 10am at Sorbonne University, Al Reem Island.

On 24 May at 4pm at Bursa Stage, Hall 12, the award-winning Egyptian musician Omar Khairat will be in conversation with the renowned media host, Dr. Hala Sarhan in a special talk discussing his life and musical journey. The event’s organization coincides with the announcement of Omar Khairat as the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Cultural Personality of the Year for its 17th edition, in honour of his illustrious, decades-long career of timeless musical creations that have contributed to shaping the collective cultural consciousness of the Arab region.

Also on the agenda is the ‘Joy of Arabic’ seminar, to be held on 24 May at 5pm at Aya Sofya Stage, Hall 10, in collaboration with the Library of Arabic Literature at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). The session will host a group of award-winning researchers and translators to talk about the importance of discussing Arabic literary heritage and its wealth of written and translated works. The session is moderated by Bilal Orfali, Sheikh Zayed Chair for Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB), and brings together Enass Khansa, Professor and Head of the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at AUB; Michael Cooperson, SZBA 2021 winner in the Translation category; Chip Rossetti, Managing Editor for the Library of Arabic Literature translation series; and French author Mathieu Tillier, winner of the SZBA 2023 in the Arab Culture in Other Languages category.

Also on the agenda is a special trade event titled ‘Arab Fiction Literature: A Growing Trend and New Horizons for Translation’, in collaboration with Publishing Perspectives magazine. For international publishers, genre fiction is a familiar and accessible entry point to discover and translate more Arabic writing. By translating these types of books, foreign publishers can establish long-lasting relationships with Arabic publishers and pave the way for a wider range of Arabic literature to be translated into more languages. Moderated by Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives, the panel will include literary agent Jessica Papin; Ahmed Rashad, CEO of Al Dar Al Musriah Al Lubnaniah; and Ali Abd El-Moneim, publishing and partnerships consultant. The session is scheduled to take place on 25 May at 3pm at Aya Sofya Stage, Hall 10.

In collaboration with the Sea of Culture Foundation, the Award is also hosting Iraqi author Ali Jaafar Alallaq to talk about his SZBA Literature category-winning book Ila Ayn Ayyathouha Al Kaseedah (Where to, O Poem? An Autobiography). The book is a notable addition to the genre of Arab autobiography, revealing the nature of the relationship between the poet and his poem, as well as Iraqi and Arab cultural reality over half a century.  The session is scheduled to take place on 25 May at 4:30pm in the Foundation’s booth in Hall 12. 

Lastly, a second event featuring Said Khatibi, winner of the SZBA 2023 in the Young Author category, will be held in collaboration with Al Multaqa Literary Salon, and moderated by founder of the Salon, Asmaa Seddiq Al-Mutawa. The seminar will take place on 27 May at 7:30pm at Aya Sofya Stage, Hall 10.