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Award Offers Over $200,000 for Arabic Translation

Translation

A prestigious and lucrative literary contest, The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, recognizes challenging and inspiring work coming out of the Arab world or engaging with its culture — including a translation category. Its deadline is approaching quickly.

This week, the award’s reading panel committee commenced its review of 2021’s eligible submissions, holding its first session for the current edition of the prize remotely. In the coming weeks, a series of further virtual meetings will be held to review the submissions received thus far, and evaluate how well they meet the criteria for the prize. These sessions will continue until October 1, marking the end of the submission phase.

The goal of the award is to recognize writers, translators, academics, and publishers from around the world for exceptional contributions to advancing Arabic literature and culture. In the words of this year’s Children’s Literature winner, Ibtisam Barakat, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award is “the Arab world’s equivalent to the Nobel prize.”

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The 2020 contest had a record-breaking number of submissions, with awards going to recipients from six nations — UK, US, Netherlands, Iraq, Tunisia, and Palestine. Each winner receives prize money of $204,000 (or more) to recognize and further enable their creative and cultural achievements.

The 2021 awards are still open for submissions across nine categories representing the range and breadth of Arab culture. Categories include Arabic Culture in Other Languages, which recognizes written works produced in languages other than the Arabic. Works could tackle any aspect of Arab civilization and culture, including humanities, fine arts, literature — novels, short stories, poems — and history. This is separate from the translation category, which recognizes a work translated either to or from Arabic, provided it maintains loyalty to the original source and context, and maintains linguistic accuracy as well. Other categories include Young Author, Publishing and Technology, and Literature.

The closing deadline is October 1, 2020. The submission process requires that five physical copies of the book in question be sent to Abu Dhabi, UAE, so planning ahead for mailing times is crucial. Winners will be announced in March and April of 2021.

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