Literary translation organizations develop mentorship opportunity for Arabic-English translators

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced that it has formed a partnership with the British Center for Literary Translation (BCLT). The two organizations will support the development of programs for Arabic-English translators, particularly those early on in their career who aspire to work in the field of literary translation.

The partnership between the two organizations will include several workshops and mentorship opportunities, to be launched over the course of the next 18 months. The United Arab Emirates-based secretary general of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim said that the initiative will help develop and promote a network of Arab translators throughout the United Kingdom.

“We are very pleased to participate in organizing this program with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award to offer a talented early-career Arabic-English translator a place on our Emerging Translators Mentorship Scheme in 2022,” said a spokesperson from the BCLT.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, which has been presented to writers, translators, and publishers in the Arabic-speaking world since 2007, aims to acknowledge and honor Arabic-language literature and its creators. Each year, the organization presents a slate of awards to individuals specializing in several different genres, from children’s books to cultural criticism to literary fiction. The award is particularly notable as it is one of the wealthiest literary award organizations in the world, offering award winners roughly $200,000 or more.

The organization will support the development of a literary translation workshop to be held through the BCLT’s annual International Translation and Creative Writing Summer School, from July 18 to 22. This workshop will be led by Nariman Youssef as the moderator. Youssef, an Egypt-born translator who serves as the director of Arabic translation at the British Library, has received accolades and high praise for her translations of the Iraqi novel The American Granddaughter as well as various Arabic short stories and poems.

In addition to the workshop with Youssef, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award will support a mentorship program for an early-career individual working in Arabic-English translation through the BCLT’s Emerging Translators Mentorship Scheme. 

Dr. Bin Tamim added that the partnership will “expand the scope of cultural exchange between the East and the West by translating notable literary works that advance the Arabic language on the global stage, and promote its greatest works among non-Arabic speakers.”

Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.


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