Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces 3-book Literature Shortlist

Yesterday in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) announced the three-book shortlist in their “literature” and “literary & art criticism” categories:

Organizers selected three titles — from a longlist of 13 — for the literature longlist.

Among the shortlisted three books are Saudi novelist Amal al-Faran’s acclaimed Diverse of the Empty Quarter and multi-award-winning Moroccan novelist (and former culture minister) Bensalem Himmich’s memoir The Self: Between Existence and Creation.

  1. Terter (Sequin Embroidery) by Iraqi novelist Nizar Abdelsattar, published by Nofal- Hachette Antoine, 2018.
  2. Ghawaso Al Ahqaf (Divers of the Empty Quarter) by Saudi novelist Amal Al Faran, published by Jadawel Publishing, Translation & Distribution, 2016.
  3. Al Zaat: Bayn Al Wujood Wal Eijad (The Self: Between Existence and Creation) by Moroccan novelist Bensalem Himmich, published by Book Cultural Centre for Publishing & Distribution, 2018.   

Himmich has several novels in English translation, all translated by Roger Allen: The PolymathThe TheocratMy Torturess, and A Muslim SuicideNone of his nonfiction, it seems, has yet been translated.

Two of the novels that had also made the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) longlist — Inaam Kachachi’s The Outcast and Hoda Barakat’s The Night Post — did not advance to the shortlist. The IPAF longlist is set to be announced this afternoon.

Previous SZBA winners include Syrian novelist Khalil Sweileh’s Ikhtibar al-Nadam (Remorse Test); The Madmen of Bethlehem by Palestinian writer Osama Alaysa; Ma wara’a al kitaba (Beyond Writing), by Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Abdelmeguid; and Abdel Rasheed Mahmoudi’s After Coffeenow available in translation by Nashwa Gowanlock.