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Cultural Personality of the Year 2007

Denys Johnson- Davies (1922-2017)


Dr.Denys Johnson-Davies as one of the world’s most eminent translators of Arabic into English was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Cultural Personality of the Year for his services to Arabic literature.

With his outstanding translations, Dr. Davies introduced the Arabic literary masterpieces to the academic and scholarly circles in the West. He published more than 40 English books for children inspired by many literary classics including Kaleela wa Dimna, Saif Bin Thee Yazan and Arabian Nights in order to familiarise children across the world with the Arabic literary heritage, which reflects the creativity, liveliness and cultural tolerance among nations.

About the Cultural Personality of the Year

Born in Canada in 1922, Dr. Davis’ childhood was spent in Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and England. He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and at Cambridge University. Early in his career, he worked for the BBC’s Arabic Service and taught at Cairo University. At that time, he got acquainted with prominent literary figures such as Tawfiq Al Hakeem, Yousif Edris and Yehya Haqqi.

Dr. Davies translated more than 28 Arabic literary works ranging from short stories through plays to novels and poetry authored by many Arab geniuses including Tawfiq Al Hakeem, Nobel winner Najeeb Mahfouz, Mahmoud Taimour, Zakaria Tamer, Al Tayeb Al Saleh, Salwa Bakr, Yehya Al Taher Abdullah, Mohamed Al Bisati, Buthaina Al Nasseri and others