Bensalem Himmich Memoir Takes 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) today announced their roster of 2019 winners in six categories:

The “literature” award went to the globally acclaimed Moroccan author Bensalem Himmich, for his memoir The Self: Between Existence and Creation (Le Centre Culturel Du Livre, 2018). A number of Himmich’s works have been translated to English, all, I believe, by Roger Allen. These including his classic The Polymath, his The Theocrat, and his International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted My Torturess.

The “children’s literature” award went to Kuwaiti author-photographer Hussain Almutawaa for the adorable-looking I Dream of Being a Cement Mixer (Al Hadaek Group, 2018). Oddly, popular artist Walid Taher — who did the art for the book — is not named in the press release.

The “young author” award went to Algerian scholar Dr. Abderrezak Belagrouz for his academic work The Essence of Values and the Freedom of Social Concepts, (The Arabian Establishment for Thought and Innovation, 2017).

In the category of “Literary & Art Criticism,” Dr. Charbel Dagher won for Contemporary Arabic Poetry (Al Maaref Forum, 2018), which looks at the poetry of Mohammad Al Maghout and Onsi Al Haj.

In the category of “Arab Culture in Other Languages, the Library of Arabic Literature general editor Philip F. Kennedy won for Arabic Narrative Tradition (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

And, finally, in the category of “publishing and technology,” the award went to the UAE’s Arab Centre for Geographic Literature.

Winners receive a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and 750K dirhams.