On Thursday, The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) announced its 12-book longlist in the “Young Author” category:
The SZBA is one of a number of Arabic-language book awards that have separate “senior” and “junior” categories in literary prizes. Other prizes that do this include Egypt’s prestigious Sawiris prize.
However, a number of new literary prizes have eschewed this separation and focus only on the “best book” in a given year. These include the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Arabic Literature, which is set to announce its 2018 winner next week.
Thus it becomes slightly jarring when an internationally acclaimed writer such as Kuwaiti novelist Saud Alsanousi, who previously won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his The Bamboo Stalk, finds his way into the equivalent of the emerging-writer longlist. This year, his Hamam al-Dar, or The Dove of the House, is on the SZBA’s “young author” longlist.
Syrian author-translator Yazan al-Haj chimed in:
And just as al-Haj notes, the other thing that bedevils the SZBA’s young-author longlist is its inclusion of both creative writing and academic works — six of each. These will be narrowed down first to a shortlist, then to a single winner. Thus, a novel such as The Dove of the House will be judged against Knowledge and Power: Approaching the Worlds of Michel Foucault. Both could make excellent reading, but it’s difficult to see how a single set of criteria could encompass them both.
In any case, the works below were chosen from among 365 submissions, and the winners will be selected by a scientific committee made up of writers and non-writers. The winner will take 750,000 dirhams, or around $204,000 US.
Last year’s “young author” prize went to Egyptian writer Ahmad Al Qarmalawi (b. 1978) for his novel Amtar Sayfiyyah, or Summer Rains.
Literary works on the longlist:
- A’iad Al Shitaa (Winter Holidays) by Syrian author Nagham Haydar, published by Nofal- Hachette Antoine, Beirut (2018)
- Mawt Yashtahy Al Ward (A Death that Covets Roses) by Saudi writer Hassan Bin Abdou Sumaili, published by Le Centre Culturel Arabe – Adabi Riyadh (2018)
- La Reeh Lel Nai (No Wind for the Flute) by Emirati author Bushra Abdulla, published by Kuttab Publishing & Distribution (2016)
- Al Hadeeqa Dakhel Al Bait (The Garden Inside the House) by Jordanian writer Abdullah Abu Bakr, published by General Egyptian Book Organization (2018)
- Hamam Al Dar (The Dove of the House) by Kuwaiti writer Saud Alsanousi, published by Arab Scientific Publishers – Difaf Publishing (2017)
- Shahrayar Yahky Wa Yaqus (Shariar Tells Stories) by Moroccan writer Tawfiq Bamida, published by Dar Al Tanweer Printing & Publishing (2018)
- Ehyaa Oloum Al Iskandariya (The Revival of Alexandrian Sciences) by Egyptian scholar Dr. Radwa Zaki, published by the General Organization of Culture Palaces (2017)
- Fe Al Tadawuliyat Al Istidlaliya (A Thorough Analysis of Concepts and Interpretation Processes) by Egyptian academic Dr. Tharwat Morsy, published by Dar Konoz El-Marefa Publishing & Distribution (2018)
- Al Ma’rifa Wal Sulta (Knowledge and Power: Approaching the Worlds of Michel Foucault) by Moroccan scholar Omar Al Tawer, published by Editions Approaches (2018)
- Rouh Al Qiyam Wa Houriyat Al Mafaheem (The Essence of Values and the Freedom of Social Concepts) by Algerian scholar Dr. Abderrezak Belagrouz, published by The Arabian Establishment for Thought and Innovation (2017)
- Wa Ma Yabqa Yo’assesoh Al Fann (What Remains is Constructed by Art: Ballet, Opera and Composition) by Algerian academic Baha Bennouar, published by Dar Fadaat Publishing & Distribution (2018)
- Afriqya: Unas Layso Methlona (Africa: The People Who Are Not Like Us) by Lebanese academic Mohammad Tarazi, published by Arab Scientific Publishers (2018)