Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces Literature, Young Author Shortlists

MARCH 9, 2023 — The Sheikh Zayed Book Award today announced their shortlists in three categories, including “literature” and “young author.”

Both the “literature” and “young author” shortlists were selected from a longlist of twelve books.

The three works on the Literature shortlists are Egyptian author and scholar Reem Bassiouney’s 2022 novel “القطائع – ثلاثية ابن طولون” (Al-Qata’i: Ibn Tulun’s Trilogy); Iraqi author Ali Jaafar Alallaq’s 2022 memoir “إلى أين أيتها القصيدة؟ سيرة ذاتية” (Whereto, O Poem? An Autobiography); and Lebanese author Alawiya Sobh’s 2022 novel “افرح يا قلبي” (Rejoice, My Heart).

Meanwhile, the list of the Young Author category also was made up of works by well-known authors. These are Iraqi author Shahd Alrawi’s 2020 novel “فوق جسر الجمهورية” (Over the Republic Bridge); Egyptian author Ahmad Lutfi’s 2022 novel “الوحل والنجوم” (Dirt and Stars); and Algerian writer Said Khatibi’s 2022 novel “نهاية الصحراء” (The End of the Desert).

The majority of the shortlisted authors — Reem Bassiouney, Alawiya Sobh, Shahd Alrawi, and Said Khatibi — have previous novels available in English translation. Bassiouney’s Sons of the People, translated by Roger Allen, made the 2023 IMPAC longlist; Sobh’s acclaimed Maryam: Keeper of Stories (tr. Nirvana Tanoukhi) and This Thing Called Love (tr. Max Weiss) were both released by Seagull Press; Shahd Alrawi’s Baghdad Clock (tr. Luke Leafgren) won the Edinburgh First Book Award; while Said Khatibi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted Sarajevo Firewood was translated by Paul Starkey and published by Banipal Books.

One book by Ali Jaafar Alaalaq has been translated and published by Dār Al-Maʼmun, titled Poems; however, it appears to be out of print.

A shortlist was also announced today in the Literary & Art Criticism category, and organizers said that the Sheikh Zayed Book Award will announce the shortlists of its other categories over the coming few weeks.