Egyptian writer bags Dh750,000 prize in Shaikh Zayed Book Awards 2014

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1,385 works assessed for Shaikh Zayed Book Awards 2014

Inspired by his own childhood, Abdel Rasheed Mahmoudi’s novel ‘After Coffee’ impressed the judges of Shaikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) and the Egyptian writer bagged this year’s award in the Literature category. “What distinguished this novel from the rest of the entries in the Literature category was the style of writing and the manner of recording the events that happened in the village,” said Juma Al Qubaisi, executive director of Abu Dhabi’s National Library.

Published by Dar Al Arabiya in 2013, ‘After Coffee’ clinched the SZBA prize that comes with a Dh750,000 cash prize for its “literary creativity, resembling international classical novels, manifesting brilliant narration skills, smooth transition between events and the personification of characters from childhood to middle ages”.

This year’s SZBA winners were announced on Monday. Saeed Abdullah Al Soyan from Saudi Arabia got the award in the Contribution to the Development of Nations category for his study ‘The Epic of Human Evolution’.

Al Soyan’s study, published by Dubai’s Madarik Publishing in 2013, was recognised for the author’s “ability to develop the notion of evolution from the mere biological spectrum to the social, cultural, linguistic and economical spheres, as well as associating these fields together”.

The Children’s Literature award went to Lebanon’s Jawdat Fakhr Eldine for his ‘Thirty Poems for Children’. The collection of poems, published by Dar Al Hadaiq last year, manifest simplicity in language and beauty of rhythms, stimulating positive thinking and imagination.

“The Young Author Award attracted the biggest number of participants this year — 370 works,” said Dr Ali bin Tamim, secretary-general of SZBA.

Spotlighting an Author Under 40 years of Age category was won by Rami Abu Shihab from Jordan for his book ‘Permanence and Deception: Post Colonial Discourse in the Contemporary Arab Criticism’.

According to the panel of judges, the main reason for selecting this book was the writer’s “awareness of post-colonial era studies”.

Mohammed Al Tahir Al Mansouri from Tunisia won the Translation Award for his translation of ‘Housing the Stranger in the Mediterranean World’.

Apart from the work’s accuracy and elegance, the boor is enriched with plenty of indexes and a sound selection of locations and personalities’ names. An extensive survey of Babylon — from archaeology and ancient history points of view — won Italian writer Mario Liverani’s ‘Imagining Babylon’ the Arabic Culture in Other Languages Award.

The Arab Foundation’s ‘House of Wisdom’ from Tunisia won the Publishing and Technology category for its “responsible academic effort and the clear lively heritage of all activities of this institution”.The final of the nine categories, Cultural Personality of the Year, is yet to be revealed.

Overall, SZBA attracted 1,385 works in all its categories, a growth of 12 per cent over last year. “We had several Emirati writers participating, and some made it to the final selection, but not onto the winners’ list,” Al Tamim told Khaleej Times.

All the winning books and their authors will be at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair from April 30 to May 5, participating in a series of seminars, dialogues and dialogues.

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