2015 Sheikh Zayed Book Award Announces Winners

SZBA logo

Osama Alaysa is the winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for his novel "The Fools Of Bethlehem"

Pic of OsamaThe Palestinian author Osama Alaysa wins the "Literature Award" for his novel Majaneen Bait Lahem ("The Fools of Bethlehem"), published by Nofal-Hachette Antoine (2013). 

Osama Alaysa was previously published in Banipal 50 – Prison Writing, click here to read his testimony about his time in Ramallah prison.

"The novel emerges as a unique literary creation that narrates the history of the place, traces the changes it went through by using the motif of madness in a way that reflects an entire intellectual period in the Arab World. The work finds inspiration in the traditional narrative forms as such as those of the Arabian Nights and makes use of the more recent narrative techniques, perceptively linking history and reportage, and mixing realistic presentation with magical realism. The wealth of character types and of subsidiary tales harmonises beautifully with the main narrative line."

 Pic of Haruo Hanawa Haruo, Japanese translator and scholar, wins the "Translation Award" for his translation of Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy (Palace Walk, Palace of Desire and Sugar Street) into Japanese, published by Kokusho Kankokai (2013).

The former ambassador for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mentioned by Kaoru Yamamoto in her study about Arabic Literature in Japan, published on Banipal 52 – New Fiction.

"The translation of Naguib Mahfouz' Cairo Trilogy into Japanese by the researcher constitutes an achievement that transcends the linguistic dimension, and constitutes a cultural dialogue between the Arab and the Japanese worlds through what the translation reveals about the social history of Egypt and the transformations that occurred in the decades between the 1920s and the 1950s." 

 Pic of Sugita Hideaki The "Arab Culture in Other Languages" Award went to Sugita Hideaki from Japan as well, for his book Arabian-Naito to Nihon-Jin (The Arabian Nights and the Japanese). 

"The book constitutes a turning point in the development of the way the Japanese, unshackled by Western Orientalist attitudes, viewed Arab culture. It traces the influence of the Arabian Nights on all aspects of modern Japanese culture, starting with the reforms of the enlightened Meiji Era (1868-1912) until the present time, on Japanese children’s literature, and on Japanese theatre, fiction, cinema, travel literature, translation, comparative literature, and other fields of knowledge in Japan."

The Awards Presentation Ceremony will take place in Abu Dhabi in May 2015 during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Click here for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2015 webpage.

The foundation of the Award was laid out in memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of UAE for more than 30 years, and his pioneering role in national unity and the country’s development. It is presented every year to outstanding writers, intellectuals, publishers as well as young talents whose writings and translations of humanities have scholarly and objectively enriched Arab cultural, literary and social life.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is an independent cultural award administered by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), with a total monetary value of AED 7 million dirhams.


Published Date - 13/04/2015