Yesterday, the Zayed Book Award announced the longlist in its “young author” category. A young author is defined as one under 40. The @SZBA tweeted:

The longlisted works, according to a release from Zayed Book Award organizers,  were chosen from a pool of 134 candidates that hailed from ten nations in the Arabic-writing world. 

The winner is set to be announced in February 2012, and the award ceremony is scheduled for the following month.

Of the longlisted authors, Omani writer Jokha Al Harthi has work available in English translation; several short stories can be found in translation on her website.

Although the prize offers a large purse, at 750,000 AED, Youssef Rakha noted last March:

Established in 2007 in memory of the founder of the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards have since 2008 been overshadowed by the the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF, better if less accurately known as the Arabic Booker), a joint venture of the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Foundation and the prestigious Booker Foundation (judging by this writer’s taste in recent years, Booker and Man Booker short lists have in fact seldom lived up to the name). Yet occurring within 24 hours of each other at the Emirates Palace and Beach Rotana Hotels, respectively, the awards ceremonies demonstrated just how much more interest the Booker commands at every conceivable level. (More from Rakha here.)

You can follow updates about the Zayed book award at @SZBA.

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