Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces Shortlists for ‘Literature’, ‘Young Author’ and ‘Children’s Literature’

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award yesterday announced a diverse range of shortlists in three categories. Each shortlist was made up of three titles:

Unusually, two of the three books on the literature shortlist were nonfiction:

The Passengers’ Hall (Ghorfat Al-Mosafreen), by Egyptian author Ezzat El-Kamhawi (Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah) is a nonfiction work about journeys, taking us both through the author’s experience of travels and his reflections on travel literature.

In the Footsteps of Enayat al-Zayyat (Fi Athar Enayat al- Zayyat), by Egyptian poet and author Iman Mersal (Kotob Khan Books). This look into the life of the Egyptian writer Enayat al-Zayyat, who took her life in 1963, illuminates the challenges of writing while female and life in mid-20th-century Egypt. It is part detective story, part biography, and part memoir, and nests histories within histories, opening up to a portrait of the twentieth century in Egypt and beyond. Also listen to the Bulaq episode “Love and Silence: Rediscovering Enayat al-Zayyat.”

To Love Life (Aan Ta’ashaq Al Hayat), by Lebanese author Alawiya Sobh (Dar Al Adab Publishing & Distribution).

The list was narrowed from a longlist of twelve titles announced last November.


The children’s literature list features a diverse three books:

The Beast and the Blackberry (al-Ghool wa Nabtat al-Olayq), by Emirati author Naseeba Alozaibi (Dar Ashjar Publishing and Distribution). This is a charming chapter book for early middle-grade readers about a beast whose anger terrifies everyone until he messes with the wrong tree, and is set the task of cultivating the happiness of a young girl.

An Artist’s Journey (Rihlat Fannan), by Tunisian author Mizouni Bannani (Dar al-Mua’nasa Publishing)

The Emerald Garden (Hadiqat al-Zomorrod), by Moroccan author Raja Malah (Dar al-Moualef Publishing and Distribution).

There were thirteen titles on the Children’s Literature longlist, which was announced last November.


The “Young Author” category shortlist this year is made up of two novels and one academic work:

Yalda Night (Laylat Yalda), by Egyptian novelist Ghada al-Absi (Dar al-Tanweer)

What I Left Behind (Ma Tarkto Khalfi), by Palestinian novelist Shatha Mustafa (Nofal/Hachette Antoine)

The Problems of the Narrated Self in the Saudi Feminist Novel 1999-2012, a Critical Study (Eshkalyat Al Thaat Al Saredah Fee Al Rwayah Al Nesaayah Al Saudiah), by Dr. Asma Muqbil Awad Alahmadi (Arab Scientific Publishers)

There had been fourteen titles on the “Young Author” longlist.


Winners in each of these categories are promised a gold medal AED 750,000 each, or around USD $200,000.