This morning, the Etisalat prize for Arabic Children’s Literature announced that Sonia Nimr’s Strange Travels in Amazing Lands was chosen as the second annual winner in its Young Adult category:
Nimr began writing children’s books in English, penning the teen novel A Little Piece of Ground (2004) with Elizabeth Laird and in 2007, Ghaddar the Ghoul and Other Palestinian Stories, before switching to Arabic. In Arabic, she has brought out several titles, including King of Tales, Zaloota, and Mukhtar, Who Has Big Ears.
According to the publisher of the prize-winning book, Palestine’s Tamer Institute, Strange Travels in Amazing Lands:
The novel travels into fascinating adventures, beyond reality of a woman bravest than men of her years, whose life is revealed to a university professor invited to attend a conference in Morocco, where she is handed an old manuscript of the whole life of Qamar, who, despite concerns of family and friends defies fear and danger in a restless adventurer. Qamar travels dangerous waters, she faces slavery, danger and hardships, she meets so many people, tutors and friends, she lives, loves and travels once more, will her journeys ever end, especially when her reality becomes too much to bear? The fates throw us into high tides while we glide in life; we spend a long journey with Qamar. The book is engaging and attractive, it throws the reader in the midst of seas beautifully weaved with the skillful narration of a storyteller.
The other books on this year’s shortlist were Pizarro and the Pirates, by Nadia Al Shehri, published by Kadi and Ramadi, One Year in Qena, by Hadil Ghoneim, published by Al Balsam Publishing House, Hawk Eye Mystery, by Taghreed al-Najjar, published by Al Salwa Publishers and The Night of Fire, by Yacoub el-Sharouny, published by Nahdet Misr Publishing House.
In the “Best Book of the Year” category, author Abeer Taher El-Turk and illustrator Maya Fidawi won with Cat.