Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces 2017 Longlist, Features Work by a Mauritanian Novelist for the First Time

There are “reading committees” to choose the longlist, a “scientific committee” to choose the shortlist, and a final panel of judges to choose the winner. Advertisements

Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading…‹ ArabLit Recommends: A Crowdfunding Campaign for ‘Shatila Stories’Categories: Sheikh Zayed Book Award But while the IPAF won’t announce its longlist until January, the SZBA has released its 13-book longlist today:
There are a number of long-celebrated writers — three have previously won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal; three have previously been listed for the IPAF — and many have works translated into English and other languages. The award will also announce longlists in several other categories, including “Children’s Literature,” “Young Author,” and “Translation.”
The Naguib Mahfouz Medal Winners:

Khalil Sweileh won the 2009 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for   Scribe of Love,   translated by Alexa Firat,   available from AUC Press. You can read a review of the Arabic by ArabLit’s Hend Saeed. That’s almost triple the submissions allowed by the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The year Hadi was shortlisted, for her novel   The Bride’s Tea,   was one of the years the prize was withheld for “lack of suitable candidates.”
This has happened because the SZBA prize doesn’t have one set of judges — as one might expect with an award that juggles 337 nominated titles. Indeed, when Sudanese novelist Hammour Ziada was asked about who’s missing from IPAF longlists, he said, “Eritrean literature misses out, also Somali and Mauritanian, and these are Arab countries with authors who write in Arabic.”
According to the news release,   there were 337 titles submitted to this year’s SZBA. Hassouna Mosbahi, who had a short story shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize, also has seen his compelling   A Tunisian Tale   translated by Max Weiss and published by AUC Press. In past years, the judges are have not been named and have not been made available for questions. Both the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) and the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) will celebrate their winners at the 2018 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in April. Four of this year’s thirteen shortlisted titles are by women. Ezzat al-Kamhawi won the 2012 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for   House of the Wolf,   translated by Nancy Roberts and available from AUC Press. Egyptians:

The Autumn of The Big City, by   Mahmoud al-Werwary (2017)
At Least We’re Together,   by Ezzat el-Kamhawi (2017)
A Journey of Blood,   by Ibrahim Eissa (2016)


Remorse Test, by Khalil Sweileh (2017)
Aleppo Metro,   by   Maha Hasan (2016)


The Devil Might Sometimes Love, by   Zainab Hifni (2017)
The Young Bedouin, by Maqbul al-Alawi (2016)


Jano, You are My Story, by Maysaloon Hadi (2017)
Fi Souq al-Sabaya, or, The Beekeeper,   by Dunya Mikhail (2017, forthcoming in English March 2018)


Tracing a Cloud,   by Lebanese author Hassan Daoud (2017)
Grapes of Vice,   by Mauritanian novelist Ahmad Hafid (2016)
In Pursuit of Happiness, By Tunisian author Hassouna Mosbahi (2017)
The Witnessed Witness,   by   Jordanian novelist Walid Saif (2016)

Acclaimed Iraqi writer Maysaloon Hadi   was previously shortlisted for the SZBA in 2012. Dunya Mikhail, most well-known for her poetry, has three collections out in English, and her longlisted book is set to appear next year as   The Beekeeper,   translated by herself and Max Weiss. The list is dominated by Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, and Saudi writers, but there are also some surprises, such as the novel Grapes of Vice   by Mauritanian writer Ahmad Hafid. One longlisted work, Dunya Mikhail’s   Fi Souq al-Sabaya,   is already set to appear in English translation in March 2018 from New Directions, as The Beekeeper. Among them, only one — Iraqi-American poet Dunya Mikhail — has had a book translated into English. This seems to be the first time that a Mauritanian novelist has been longlisted for either the SZBA or the IPAF, although Mauritanian novelist   Mohamed ould Mohamed Salem did win a spot in an IPAF writing retreat. Hassan Daoud won the Mahfouz medal in 2015 for his   No Road to Paradise,   available in English translation by Marilyn Booth (Hoopoe)

Other longlisted authors with book-length works available in English:

Ibrahim Eissa’s   The Televangelist,   translated by Jonathan Wright, is reportedly one of Hoopoe Fiction’s most popular titles.