On November 17, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced the first two longlists of their 2021-22 awards season, in their “young author” and “children’s literature” categories.
According to the SZBA news release, the “Young Author” category had the largest number of entries among all categories this year, with a total number of 881 qualifying entries. Titles are eligible whether they are poetry, novels, creative nonfiction, or academic works. The children’s literature category received only 236 entries.
The longlist for the Young Author category includes 14 titles from eight Arab countries. The literary works on the longlist include: Al-Qurtubi Wakes Up in Alexandria, by Jordanian author Omar Zakaria; To the Beloved Country: The Final Journey of Zamzam, by Egyptian author Ahmed Khair El-Din; The Pre-Premiere, by Moroccan author Nizar Karboot; Paradise Is More Beautiful from Afar by Lebanese author Katia Tawil; The Country Will Leave You, by Iraqi poet Hussam Latif Al-Battat; Ask the Sand about Its Shadow by Egyptian poet Mohamed Ismail; and Mawaweel Lover, by Iraqi poet Yas Al-Saidi.
The full list of longlistees is available on the TCA Abu Dhabi website.
The children’s-literature longlist, meanwhile, was made up 10 titles from six Arab countries. Half of the longlisted writers were from the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman), with the other half from Tunisia, Syria, and Morocco. This is surprising in a children’s literature industry often dominated by authors in Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt.
Although there is some overlap in authors who were shortlisted for the 2021 Etisalat Awards for Arabic Children’s Literature, as Maria Dadoush made both lists, but no overlap in titles.
The ten longlisted titles:
ملكة الأرض وبنت السماء (Queen of the Earth and Daughter of the Sky) by Saudi writer Arwa Khamis, published by Arwa Arabic Publishing House in 2020
اسمي كُل أسماء الشجر (My Name Is All the Names of the Trees) by Emirati writer Nadia Al Kalbani, published by Qahwa Publishing House in 2021
ضياء وتاج النور (Diyaa’ and the Crown of Light) by Tunisian writer Najwa Al-Darawi, published by Nabd Al-Qalam House for Publishing and Distribution in 2021
سموثي المغامر (Smoothy the Adventurer) by Omani writer Badriya Al-Badri, issued by Maktabat Kunooz Al Maarifa in 2021
اختلفت فتميزت (I Was Different, So I was Special), by Saudi writer Alaa Saad Al-Najem, published by Academia International in 2020
لغز الكرة الزجاجية (The Mystery of the Glass Ball) by Syrian writer Maria Dadoush, published by Dar Al-Saqi in 2021
خيوط الصوف الملونة (Colored Strings of Yarn) by Emirati writer Nadia Al-Najjar, issued by Dar Lulu for publishing and distribution in 2021
شمس تضحك (Laughing Sun) by Syrian writer Bayan Al-Safadi, published by Dar Lubnan in 2020
موعدي مع النور (My Date with the Light) by Moroccan writer Raja Mellah, published by Al Mu’allif for publishing, printing, and distribution in 2021
الله ما أحلاه (How Beautiful God Is) by Dr. Yassin Hazkar from Morocco, published by Al Hukama’ Publishing in 2021
The award’s other longlists will be announced in the next few weeks, according to the press release, with shortlists expected in March of 2022.