The 2009 Zayed Book Award in Literature - Jamal Al Ghitani walks away with the prize

Abu Dhabi,

This year the Literature Prize is awarded for a work that ventures the ancient history of Egypt in effort to revive the myths and stories through the use of sufistic parables. The Novelist Jamal Al Ghitani of Egypt, is announced this year’s winner for best Work in Literature. The book is the 6th volume of Dafater Al- Tadween, and encompasses the spiritual journey of the writer paralleled with an actual travel he assumes from the Pyramid Plateau to the Southern parts of Egypt. The book was published by Dar Al Shourouq year 2008. The advisory council decided that Jamal Al Ghitani’s work manifests the intersection of the spiritual and carnal, the artistic and intellectual, exceeding the boundaries of time and history. “The Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners this year reflect some of the most exciting and, in some cases, challenging cultural work written in Arabic today,” said Rashed Al Oraimi, Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The award, which was established in memory of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, has been running for three years with nine categories: • Literature • Children’s Literature • Translation • Young Author • Fine Arts • Publishing & Distribution • Cultural Personality of the Year • Development of the Country • Best Technology in Culture As for the withholding of the Children’s Literature Prize, Al Oraimi added, "the Children's Literature is a vital foundation in the development of the young generation and we take great responsibility in achieving the award’s objectives. The nominated works have not provided the necessary conditions to win the Prize”. The Award Committee evaluated a total of 621 works across the nine award categories, representing submissions from more than 26 countries. The awards attracted participation from many well-known personalities in the Arab cultural arena The award offers a total annual monetary award of AED 7 million ($1,906,000) and welcomes nominations from creative individuals whose work has been published in the past two years. About the Winner: Jamal Al Ghitani was born in Juhaina village, Egypt, 1945 and has graduated from Arts School in 1962 where he studied carpet designing. He was arrested in 1966 among other writers for political reasons. Started his work for Akhbar Al Youm publishing house in 1969 and was war correspondent between 1969 and 1974. He became the Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar Al Adab in 1992 until now. Many of his works were translated into French, Swedish, English, Dutch, German, and Italian, and were studied by many Arab and foreign prominent scholars. Jamal Ghitani received many awards during his career, to name a few; State Merit Novel Award, Knight of French Legion of Honour, Arab-French Friendship Awards for his novel Risalat Al Basa’er Fi Al Masa’er. Some of his Literary works • Chronicles of a Young Man Who Lived a Thousand Years Ago • Al Zayni Barakat • Pyramid texts • Siege from Three Directions • Stranger’s Tales • Book of Revelations (3 vols.) • Midnight of Exile • Jungles of the Town Studies • Watchmen of Eastern Gate • Naguib Mahfooz Remembers • Mustafa Ameen Remembers • Views of Cairo a Thousand Years Ago • Endowments in Cairo • Pigeon Fever