New ‘Bait AlGhasham Dar Arab’ Translation Prize for Unpublished Manuscripts

MARCH 3, 2023 — Dar Arab publishing house yesterday announced a new international translation prize for Arabic literature, to be called the “Bait AlGhasham Dar Arab Translation Prize.”

The prize, to be presented annually, is supported by the Oman-based Bait AlGhasham museum and the UK-based Dar Arab publishing house. It aims, according to a news release announcing its launch, to recognize “exceptional translations of Arabic literature into English,” with the aim of addressing a “lack of translated and published Arabic literature” in English, to “introduce modern Arabic literary works to English-speaking readers worldwide,” and to “promote Arab writers and their works to a global audience.”

The board of trustees includes translators Roger Allen and Sawad Hussain and Mohammed AlYahyai.

A panel of judges will select a shortlist of five works, followed by a winner, for a prize with a “total value of £55,000,” to be split between the author, translator, and expense of publishing the work.

According to organizers, the prize will have two categories. The first is a “Prize for an Unpublished Translation of a Published Literary Work,” while the second is a “Prize for the Publication and Translation of an Unpublished (Arabic) Literary Work.”

In the first category, the translator must “submit a sample translation which should represent at least 20% of the total number of words from the original text,” as well as approval of the relevant rights-holder. For this prize — worth a total of £19,000 each year — the prize will be divided between the copyright holder of the original Arabic work (£2000), the translator’s prize (£2000), and the translator’s payment (£100 per thousand words), with the rest going to the costs of “editing, publishing, and marketing the translation.”

The second category, organizers write, is open to authors of any literary genre in Arabic, including memoir, novel, short stories, and poetry. The total prize in this category is £21,000, with £2000 for the author, and the rest going to support publication of the original Arabic work and an English translation.

Submissions are set to open for both categories on April 18, 2023, the opening day of the London International Book Fair, with information on how to submit at the Dar Arab website,