Sheikh Zayed Book Award 17th Ed Shortlist

by | Jun 8, 2023 | IBBY NEWS, News

An image that has 3 book covers of shortlisted books for 3 of the categories for the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards. The categories each have three books with titles in arabic and are: Literature, Art and Literary Criticism, and Young Author.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA), which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre under the auspices of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, has announced the shortlists for its 17th edition, featuring 20 authors and organisations from 9 different countries.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the world’s leading prizes dedicated to showcasing Arab literature and culture, includes Banipal Magazine (UK), Institut du Monde Arabe, British author Dame Marina Warner, Egyptian author Iman Mersal, and American translator Michael Cooperson among its former laureates. This year the Award received a record-breaking 3,151 submissions, with the Young Author prize category attracting 30% of submissions followed by 22% for the Literature category. 

Dr Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of SZBA and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre: 

Each year I am fascinated by the diversity of submissions from around the world and this year’s shortlists represent a compelling range of thought-provoking works across academic, fiction and nonfiction publishing, as well as scholarly research. We were particularly delighted to receive so many submissions in the Young Author category, which I think anticipates a bright future for Arab publishing, and I am pleased to see a rigorous and modern engagement with Arab history and heritage across many of the prize categories. It is an honour to recognise the talent and scholarship of Arab and international authors, bringing their work to a wider audience.


The Young Author shortlist comprises three works of fiction. Over the Republic Bridge by Iraqi author Shahad al Rawi presents a family saga chronicling the effects of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq across three generations. Dirt and Stars by Egyptian writer Ahmed Lofti is a collection of stories which imagines tales of the Arabian Peninsula before Islam. Finally, Algerian novelist Said Khatibi has been shortlisted for The End of the Desert, a work of crime fiction depicting the long-lasting effects of the Algerian War over future generations. 


The winners will be announced in April and will each receive 750,000 UAE dirhams ($204,203.93 US) while the Cultural Personality will receive 1,000,000 UAE dirhams ($272282.20 US) at the SZBA 2023 ceremony taking place at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in May.