One Literary Prize Closes (Sheikh Zayed) and Another One Opens (Al Rowaee)

Although, as you know, the Sheikh Zayed is the more well-known.

According to Middle East Online, 715 nominations for the Sheikh Zayed were received across all categories, including 24% for literature (171 or 172?) 22% for best young author (157?) and 14% for children’s literature (100?) among other categories, such as “Best Contribution to the Development of the Nation.”

Unsurprisingly, the award’s secretary general noted: “Notably[,] as last year, Egypt recorded highest sum of nominations with 35% of total…” But nominations also came from countries around the world, including the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Pakistan, India and New Zealand.

Winners will be announced in February of next year, and an award ceremony will be held parallel to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair next March.

Insha’allah the “literature” award will go to a literary author this year. (Last year, the winner was Algerian Hafnaoui Baali for his book Comparative Cultural Criticism – an Introduction. Nothing against the literary scholars, but frankly authors are more exciting.)

I believe the children’s award—which last year went to graphic novelist Qais Sedki—will have to go to an author, unless there are literary critics of Arabic children’s prose of whom I’m not aware.


Meanwhile, Al-Rowaee, the “Arabic magazine of the novel,” has announced that it’s accepting submissions for a 2010 novel award. More information on Ahmed Toson’s literary blog or on the Al-Rowaee website.