The award is given to an American writer aged thirty-five and younger for their work in fiction. Some past award winners include Amelia Gray, Colson Whitehead, and Lesley Nneka Arimah.
Amid a record breaking year of submissions, the shortlists have been announced for the fourteenth edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Out of 1,900 submissions from across forty-nine countries, an independent judging panel selected the shortlists for each. Winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in April, and will be awarded a prize of 750,000 UAE dirhams (204,181 USD). The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the world’s leading prizes, specifically dedicated to Arabic literature and culture. The awards cover nine categories: Arabic Culture in Other Languages, Children’s Literature, Contribution to the Development of Nations, Cultural Personality of the Year, Literary and Art Criticism, Literature, Publishing and Technology, Translation, and Young Author. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award was established in memory of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan and reflects some of the most exciting and challenging works to come out of the Arab World.
image via The Sheikh Zayed Book Award
The six categories for which the shortlists have been announced are Young Author, Literature, Children’s Literature, Publishing and Technology, Translation, and Arabic Culture in Other Languages. In the Young Author category, a notable mention includes Kuwaiti author Bothayna Al-Essa, who was previously longlisted for the award in 2012. Other notable mentions include a poetry collection by Tunisian poet Moncef Al-Wahaibi, who was longlisted for Literature in 2014. In the Children’s Literature category, the shortlist includes all female, established novelists with American-Palestinian prize-winning author Ibtisam Barakat among the nominees. Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Authority and Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, Dr. Ali bin Tamim, said of this year’s submissions,
“We have received exceptional works from prominent authors and publishing houses, cultural centers, and universities. Such an impressive improvement in the volume of participation reaffirms the award’s resounding success achieved year-on-year. It also underscores the cultural status of the United Arab Emirates, being a global hub for culture makers, intellectuals, creators, publishers, and youth.”
image via The Sheikh zayed book award
The shortlist titles:
- Ma’wa Al Gheyab (Shelter of Absence) by Mansoura Ezzedine
- Belkas ma Qabl Al Akheera (The Penultimate Cup) by Moncef Al-Wahaibi
- Arwah Sakhrat Al Asal (Souls of Honey Rocks) by Mamdouh Azzam
- Kol Al Ashya’a (All Things) by Bothayna Al-Essa
- Al Muhawara fi Adb Abi Hayyan al-Tawhidi: Derasah fi Khasaes al Tafa’ol Al Tawasoli, Al Adab AlMajlisi fe Mudwenat AlTawhidi (Dialogue in Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi Literature: A Study in the Characteristics of Communication Interaction) by Dr. Manal Saleh M. Al-Mohimeed
- ilm Al Kalam Al Islami fi Derasat al Mustashrikeen Al Alman (Islamic Theology in the Studies of German Orientalists) by Hayder Qasim
- Saqi Almaa (The Water Provider) by Maryam Saqer Al Qasimi
- Nuzhati Al Ajeeba Ma’ Al Am Salem (My Wondrous Picnic with Uncle Salem) by Nadia AlNajjar
- Al Fatat Al Lialakia (The Purple Girl) by Ibtisam Barakat
- Al Manteqa Al Mo’atemah: Al Tareekh Al Seri Lelharb Alsebraniya (The Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War) by Fred Kaplan, translated from English to Arabic by Loay Abdel Mageed
- Al-Insan Al-Romantiqi (L’Homme Romantique) by Georges Gusdorf, translated from French to Arabic by Mohamed Ait Mihoub
- Al Shokouk Ala Galen (Abū Bakr al-Rāzī: Doutes sur Galien) by Abu Bakr Al-Razi, translated from Arabic to French by Pauline Koetschet
Arab Culture in Other Languages
- Warum es kein islamisches Mittelalter gab (Why There Were No Islamic Middle Ages) by German author Thomas Bauer
- 1001 Buch: Die Literaturen des Orients (1001 Books: The Literatures of the Orient) by German author Stefan Weidner
- Croire au Maghreb médiéval: La sainteté en question XIVe-XVe siècle (Beliefs of the Medieval Maghreb: Sainthood in question in the 14th-15th centuries) by French author Nelly Amri
- The Thousand and One Nights and Twentieth-Century Fiction: Intertextual Readings by Dutch author Richard van Leeuwen
- Sufi Network. Le confraternite islamiche tra globalizzazione e tradizione (The Sufi Network. The Islamic Brotherhood between Globalization and Tradition) by Italian author Francesco Alfonso Leccese
Publishing and Technology
- Library of Alexandria, Egypt
- National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, Paris
- Banipal Magazine, UK
While the winners will be announced in April, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award will be present at The London Book Fair (March 10-12) and is hosting a panel event titled Sheikh Zayed Book Award: The Positive Impact of Prizes on Translation, held at the English PEN Literary Salon on Tuesday, March 10th at 1:30 pm.
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featured image via The Sheikh Book Award
The Hugo Awards, the annual award for science fiction, will announce their winner later in the week, but for now, there are two finalists which are the first in their series—so you can start reading right now, and be ready for the winner this weekend.
Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse
Image Via Amazon
Maggie is a post-apocalyptic Navajo monster hunter, and that’s just the beginning. When a girl goes missing in a small town, she’s forced to team up with a medicine man to travel the reservation, uncovering secrets and coming closer and closer to a monster more terrible than either can imagine. An immersive flooded world, filled with gods and monsters, and characters with enough sarcasm and attitude to bear the weight of a dark plot and devastated world.
This has already swept a few awards, and is sure to be a good pick for anyone who likes any supernatural or speculative genres.
Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik
Image Via Amazon
You may have noticed by now I’m A LITTLE OBSESSED with Naomi Novik, but hey, the experts back me up. This is sort of a fairy tale, related to Rumpelstiltskin, but you always get much more than you can possibly foresee with Novik.
Since her father is running the family business into the ground, Miryim takes matters into her own hands. For better or worse, she’s very good at debt collecting, and ends up catching the attention of the supernatural—the icy Staryk—and it only gets more dire from there. You can expect gloriously lush world building and characters who feel like real people.
Featured image Via Pixels
Paul Scharre, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and current director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, wrote the nonfiction book Army of None, and it just won a $5,000 award named for the late CIA director William E. Colby.
Image Via Twitter
According to US News, who announced this stunning development., the Colby prize is “given annually since 1999 by Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont” and “is presented for a work of fiction or non-fiction about military history, intelligence operations or international affairs”.
Scharre’s work fit the bill quite perfect. The book aims to inform us, the public, of the benefits and the drawbacks against the growing technology used in the military with a focus on autonomous weapons.
Image Via Amazon
“The era of autonomous weapons has arrived,” the book’s description reads, and it leads to a million-and-three questions. What can they do? Have we tried to ban them? What has resulted from those bans? What are the legal issue surrounded their use? What about the ethical issues?
Paul Scharre’s book is comprehensive read that follows his investigation into autonomous weapons. It’s is a history book that spans back to World War II, a report that presents the facts as they exist today in our modern world, and gets philosophical with its legal and ethical questions.
Image Via Youtube
And who better to speak on these issues than Paul Scharre? A former U.S. Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Paul Scharre is the director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He been on programs such as MSNBC to Fox News to CNN.
We congratulate him for his award and we invite you to read it, but we warn you it’s not an easy read.
Not because it utilizes complex and lofty language, but because, like it or not, the future is here.
For a supplementary material, there’s a video below: