Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces 2021-22 Literature Longlists

Yesterday, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced the longlist for the prize’s 2021-22 “literature” category. The 15-book longlist is made up of thirteen prose works and two poetry collections written by authors from nine countries: Iraq, Egypt, Oman, Morocco, Mauritania, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait.

The titles were chosen from a reported total of 852 submissions.

The two poetry collections are by Syrian-British poet Nouri Al Jarrah and Saudi poet Jassim Alsuhayyih:

  • ‘La Harb fe Terwadah – Kalemat Homeras Al Akheera’ (No War in Troy – Homer’s Last Words) by Nouri Al Jarrah (Syria/UK), published by Almutawassit Books in 2019.
  • ‘Tadharees Al Hathyan’ (Delirium Map) by Jassim Alsuhayyih (Saudi Arabia), pub-lished by Tashkeel Publishing & Distribution in 2020.

While none of Alsuhayyih’s poetry seems to have been translated to English, many of Al Jarrah’s poems are available in translation at LyrikLine, and his A Boat to Lesbos and Other Poems was translated to English by Camilo Gómez-Rivas and Allison Blecker.

The thirteen prose works are made up of both novels and literary nonfiction, and includes writers who have been longlisted for the prize before, such as Emirati author Maisoon Saqer, also longlisted in 2016, and Egyptian writer Ezzat El-Kamhawy, who was shortlisted for the prize last year for his nonfiction work The Passengers’ Hall. There are also authors who are new to the list, such as Mauritanian author Sayid Weld Bah and acclaimed Syrian Kurdish author Jan Dost.

The full list of prose works, in the order provided by prize organizers:

  • ‘Yawmyyat Rose’ (Rose’s Diaries) by Reem Alkamali (UAE), published by Dar Al Adab Publishing & Distribution in 2021. 
  • ‘Al Rehla Al Naqisah’ (The Missing Trip) by Fatima Al Mohsen (UK/Iraq), published by Al Kamel Verlag in 2021.
  • ‘Matahat Al A’abed’ (The Labyrinth of The Worshiper) by Mohamed Youssef Elgharbawi (Egypt), published by Ibiidi Publishing in 2021.
  • ‘Safar Wahshi’ (Wild Travel) by Mohamed Hiyawi (Iraq/Netherlands), published by Sillat Media Books in 2021.
  • ‘Sir Al Moriksi’ (Morexian Secret) by Mohammed Alajmi (Oman), published by Dar Arab Publishing & Translation in 2021.
  • ‘Ghorbat Al Manazil’ (Strangers at Home) by Ezzat El-Kamhawy (Egypt), published by Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah in 2021.
  • ‘Wa Tahmelany Hayraty Wa Dh’anony. Seerat Altakween’ (Composition Biography: Thoughts and Confusion Carry Me) by Said Bengrad (Morocco), published by Le Centre Culturel Du Livre in 2021.
  • ‘Al Shan’qeeti’ (Al-Shanqeeti) by Sayid Weld Bah (Mauritania), published by Le Centre Culturel Du Livre in 2021.
  • ‘Rabe’e Al Ghabah’ (Forest Spring) by Jamal Matar (UAE), published by ElAin Pub-lishing in 2021.
  • ‘Habs Qarah’ (Confining a Continent) by Said Bensaid Alaoui (Morocco), pub-lished by Le Centre Culturel Du Livre in 2021.
  • ‘Mokhatat Petersburg’ (Petersburg Manuscript) by Jan Dost (Syria/Germany), published by Meskiliani Publishing with Dar Al-Rafidain in 2020.
  • ‘Khatf Al Habib’ (The Lover’s Kidnapping) by Taleb Al Refai (Kuwait), published by Kuttab Publishing & Distribution in 2021.
  • ‘Maq’ha Reesh, Ain Ala Massr’ (Eyes on Egypt: Alreesh Café) by Maisoon Saqer (UAE), published by Nahdet Misr Publishing in 2021.

Each category of the SZBA grants a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and a cash prize of 750,000 Emirati dirhams (around 180,000 euro), excerpt for the “cultural personality” award, which comes with a million dirhams.

The prize judges, as in previous years, were not named.