At the end of last month, the winners of Qatar’s big Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding were announced in Doha, with many on hand to accept their award:
The giant new award promises to dole out $1M in five categories. The categories were: Arabic into English, English into Arabic, Arabic into Turkish, Turkish into Arabic, and “The Achievement Award,” which went to Al-Munaẓẓamah al-`Arabīyah li-al-Tarjamah (The Arab Organization for Translation).
In the Arabic-to-English category, the winners were largely classical works, although not entirely:
- First prize in the Arabic to English category went to Library of Arabic Literature translators Geert Jan van Gelder and Gregor Schoeler for their work on the Epistle of Forgiveness by al-Ma`arrī. That earns them both $100,000.
- Second prize was shared by Issa Boullata for his translation of The Unique Necklace by Ibn `Abd Rabbihi and Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee for his translation of The Reconciliation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Law by al-Shāṭibī. Each translator here gets $30,000.
- Third prize went to Ferial Ghazoul and John Verlenden for their excellent translation of The Chronicles of Majnūn Layla by contemporary Bahraini poet Qāsim Ḥaddād. They are set to share $40,000.
At least one translator pulled out of the conference that came before the award in protest of the 15-year prison sentence handed down to poet Muhammad al-Ajami.