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The Sheikh Zayed Book Award has announced the shortlists for the ‘Literature’, ‘Young Author’ and ‘Children’s Literature’ categories of its 15th edition. These nine shortlisted titles hail from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine and Lebanon, with female writers claiming the largest share with seven titles out of the nine.
The shortlists for each of these categories feature three titles; these were selected from 14 entries on the ‘Young Author’ longlist, 13 on the ‘Children’s Literature’ longlist, and 12 on the ‘Literature’ longlist.
On the ‘Literature’ shortlist is Aan Ta’ashaq Al Hayat (To Love Life) by Lebanese author Alawiya Sobh, published by Dar Al Adab Publishing & Distribution in 2020; Ghorfat Al Mosafreen (The Passengers Hall) by Egyptian novelist Ezzat El-Kamhawi, published by Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah in 2020; and Fee Athar Enayat Al Zayyat (In the Footsteps of Enayat Al-Zayyat) by Egyptian writer Iman Mersal, published in 2019 by Al Kotob Khan Library.
The ‘Children’s Literature’ shortlist features Hadyqat Al Zomorrod (The Emerald Garden) by Moroccan author Raja Malah, published by Dar AlMoualef Publishing and Distribution/ Maalem Printing, Publishing and Distribution in 2019; Rehlat Fannan (An Artist’s Journey) by Tunisian author Mizouni Bannani, published by Dar Al Mua’nasa Publishing in 2020; and Al Ghool wa Nabtat Al Olayq (The Beast and the Blackberry) by Emirati author Naseeba Alozaibi, published by Dar Ashjar Publishing and Distribution in 2019.
The ‘Young Author’ shortlist includes two novels and one study. The novels are Laylat Yalda (Yalda Night) by Egyptian novelist Ghada Al-Absi, published by Dar Al Tanweer in 2018, and Ma Tarkto Khalfy (What I left Behind) by Palestinian novelist Shatha Mustafa, published by Nofal/Hachette Antoine in 2020. The study is Eshkalyat Al Thaat Al Saredah Fee Al Rwayah Al Nesaayah Al Saudiah (The Problems of the Narrated Self in the Saudi Feminist Novel (1999 – 2012) (Critical Study) by Dr. Asma Muqbil Awad Alahmadi, published by Arab Scientific Publishers Inc. in 2020.
These three categories were particularly popular this year, all receiving a significant increase in the number of entries year-on-year. The ‘Young Author’ category received 646 submissions, an increase of approximately 30% over the previous edition, while the ‘Literature’ category saw an increase of 33% in the number of nominations, bringing this year’s number to 584. The ‘Children’s Literature’ category received 244 entries, an increase of approximately 19% compared to the previous edition.
The 15th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is the largest in its history in terms of the number of nominations, with the Award receiving a total of 2,349 across its nine categories this year – a 23% increase compared to the previous edition. The winners will be honoured during a virtual ceremony in May, where the recipient of the ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ accolade will be accept a gold medal and a certificate of merit, as well as a prize of AED 1 million. Winners of other categories will receive a gold medal, a certificate of merit and a prize of AED 750,000 each.