Sheikh Zayed Book Award to Collaborate with SOAS University of London to Boost Cultural Dialogue

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), is set to collaborate with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London on a series of four webinars that will explore ways to boost intercultural exchange and collaboration.

The online events, which will take place on 28 April, 12 and 31 May, and 14 June 2022, will be moderated by Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS University of London, and feature a group of SZBA winners and shortlisted nominees as well as experts in writing, publishing, and translation. 

The sessions will discuss the role that translation plays in driving dialogue in literary and creative fields and examine the presence of Arabic literature in Western culture, exploring ways to spread Arab culture on a wider scale. They will also shed light on the importance of presenting thought-provoking literary and creative works in the field of children’s literature, and explore ways to overcome obstacles to accessing and publishing research material.

The collaboration with SOAS is the latest in a series of partnerships established by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award with esteemed cultural and academic institutions, which promote the award internationally and enhance its reputation with intellectuals, academics, and writers around the world.

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of SZBA and Chairman of ALC, said: “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is proud to partner with SOAS, a prestigious academic institution that has made tremendous efforts to highlight the unique and rich culture of the Arab region and translate its most creative literary works into various living languages. These webinars will address issues and topics of shared concern to our organisations, covering areas such as translation, intellectual property rights, and the importance of producing thought-provoking and relevant content for the younger generations. It is our hope that the sessions will drive greater intercultural dialogue, setting the stage for more understanding and openness towards other cultures while celebrating the traits that set them apart.”

Prof. Ouyang said: “I am extremely honoured to collaborate with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award this year.  The four events I will host at SOAS will showcase the importance and influence of Arabic literature and culture around the world. I am terribly excited to bring this series of panel discussions featuring an international and dynamic range of speakers to SOAS.”

Founded in 1916, the School of Oriental and African Studies currently has more than 6,000 students from 130 countries enrolled. It ranks among the most prominent academic institutions of the University of London, specialising in languages, humanities, and arts, and offering studies on culture, law, and social sciences focussing on Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East.

Prof. Wen-chin Ouyang is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, and member of the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies. She also serves as a scientific committee member at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre. She was shortlisted for the 2014 edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the Arab Culture in Other Languages category, for her book Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel: Nation-State, Modernity and Tradition, which offers studies in contemporary Arabic literature and was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2013.