The three books that were “unanimously approved” for the 2016 Sheikh Zayed Book Award shortlist are all by acclaimed novelists:
They are Bakhur ‘adani (Incense from Aden, 2014) by Yemeni novelist Ali Al-Muqri; Thi’bat al hob wal kutub (The She-wolf of Love and Books, 2015), by Iraqi novelist Muhsin al-Ramli; and Ma wara’a al kitaba (Beyond Writing, 2014), by Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Abdelmeguid.
This was whittled down from a 15-book longlist. Interestingly, none of the longlisted novels, which were published in 2014 and 2015 — and in one case 2013 — overlap with books on the recent International Prize for Arabic Fiction lists.
The prize’s longlist was chosen by an unnamed reading panel. After that, according to the prize website, the titles were sent to “3-4 judges for a thorough review and assessment.” These judges “submit their views to the Scientific Committee for a third round of evaluations to decide on the short list of the best nominations in this category, to be finally introduced to the Board of Trustees for winner’s announcement.”
The website shows a diagram of the process:
Three books were also chosen in the children’s book category:
Ta’er al Warwar (The Bee-eater, 2015) by Lebanese author Hassan Abdallah
Al Bahth ‘an al-Saqr Ghannam (Looking for Ghannam the Falcon, 2015) by Syrian novelist Lina Al Hassan Hawyan
Eid fi Ibreeq (Fest in a Jug, 2014) by Saudi writer Nouf Alosaimi
According to a news release, the SZBA will be announcing the rest of its shortlists in the following days, “followed by announcement of winners.” The annual award presentation ceremony will be held during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.