Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces Longlist in Literature Category

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) today announced its 12-title longlist for 2017:

szbaThe twelve longlisted titles were chosen from among a massive 274 nominations from 29 countries. According to organizers, most of the nominations came from Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, UAE, and Tunisia. However, there were also books that came in from Holland, Canada, Norway, U.K, Eritrea, Sweden, Australia and Belgium.

This is separate from the “young author” longlist, already announced along with the award for children’s literature.

The award accepted nominations from May through October 1, giving the reading panel — which puts together the longlist — just two and a half months to get through 274 titles. After this, the longlist titles go to a panel of judges.

There are a number of celebrated authors on the SZBA longlist, and several who have been previously longlisted. They are:

Khareef al Bara’a (The Autumn of Innocence, 2016) by Lebanese author Abbas Beydoun

Muntaja’ al Saherat (The Witches’ Resort, 2015) by Sudanese writer Amir Tag Elsir

Alwah (Tablets, 2016) by Lebanese author Rashid Al-Daif

‘An Tuhibbaka Jihan (To Be Loved by Jihan, 2015) by Egyptian novelist Mekkawi Said

Fi Fami Lu’lu’a (A Pearl in My Mouth, 2016) by Emirati author Maisoon Saqer

Khayt al Rooh (The Soul’s Thread, 2015) by Moroccan scholar Mbarek Rabi

Lu’bat al Mighzal (The Spinning Wheel Game, 2015) by the Eritrean novelist Haji Jabir

Al-Suriyoon (The Syrians, 2016) by Tunisian writer Moncef Ouhaïbi 

Ja’izat al Taw’am (The Twin Prize, 2016) by Iraqi writer Maysaloon Hadi

Yusra al Britaniya (British Yousra, 2015) by Bahraini author Ahmed Juma

Al-Duhoor al-Thani l’Ibn La’boon (The Second Appearance of Ibn Laboun, 2016) by Kuwaiti novelist Ismail Fahd Ismail 

Matar Sirri (Secret Rain, 2016) by Jordanian writer Zuhair Abu Shayeb 

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s first installment was in 2007. According to organizers, it’s “intended to promote scholarship and creativity in Arab culture.” It carries cash prizes totaling 7 million AED, with 750, 000AED per winner in each of the eight categories and a million AED for the cultural personality of the year winner.

The winners are typically announced in March, with a ceremony for the winners during the spring Abu Dhabi Interntaional Book Fair, although this year, according to the SZBA website, the winners aren’t expected to be announced until April.

A review-essay on Mekkawi Said’s To Be Loved by Jihan will appear in ArabLit tomorrow.

More writing in translation by the longlisted authors:

Abbas Beydoun’s “The Atheists of Paris,” trans. Maged Zaher

Amir Tag El Sir has several novels in English translation, translated by William Hutchins: Telepathy, French Perfume, Ebola ’76, and The Grub Hunter. Read translated excerpts of Elsir’s 366 and Ebola ’76 (translated by Maia Tabet).

Rachid al-Daif also has several novels in English translation, including Passage to Dusk, trans. Nirvana Tannuki, Dear Mr. Kawabata, trans. Paul Starkey, and This Side of Innocence, trans. Paula Haydar. You can read an interview with al-Daif on Banipal.

Mekkawi Said’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted novel Cairo Swan Song was translated into English by Adam Talib and published by American University in Cairo Press.

Maisoon Saqer’s work can be found in English translation in the anthology Emirati Creative Works: Poems and Short Stories.

Ismail Fahd Ismail’s work can be found in Banipal.

Zuhayr Abu Shayeb’s work also can be found in Banipal.


  1. I would suggest that you select my sister’s new book: Hungry Moon,Portraits of Appalachian Women by Charlotte Barr: with ,I might add an original song by me: David Farrington Barr,called Hungry Moon!! Do yourself a favor and enjoy!!

  2. Great post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specially the last section :
    ) I handle such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain information for
    a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

Comments are closed.