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.
- Terter (Sequin Embroidery) by Iraqi novelist Nizar Abdelsattar, published by Nofal- Hachette Antoine, 2018.
- Ghawaso Al Ahqaf (Divers of the Empty Quarter) by Saudi novelist Amal Al Faran, published by Jadawel Publishing, Translation & Distribution, 2016.
- 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 Polymath, The Theocrat, My Torturess, and A Muslim Suicide. None 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 Coffee, now available in translation by Nashwa Gowanlock.