Somali author Saleh Dima wins ‘Asma Seddiq Award for the First Novel’ in its second edition, submissions now open for the third

Somali author Saleh Dima wins ‘Asma Seddiq Award for the First Novel’ in its second edition, submissions now open for the third

May 4, 2024

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 2 May 2024 – The 33rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2024), organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), held a panel discussion hosted by the ‘Asma Seddiq Award for the First Novel’, in collaboration with the Al Multaqa Literary Salon.

During the session Asma Seddiq Al-Mutawa, Founder and Chair of Al Multaqa Literary Salon, President of the Award, spoke about the initiative behind the launch of the award, the circumstances surrounding its launch, and the different parties that contributed to its success.

Asma Seddiq opened the session by thanking the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre for its role in enriching the cultural landscape, supporting publishing houses, and promoting reading among various groups in the UAE community. She then presented the Centre with an honorary shield.

During the session, members of the judging committee of the Award spoke, including Rana Edris, Director of Dar Al Adab; Shereen Abouelnaga, critic and novelist; Mohamed Ait Hana, author and translator; and Dr. Azza Galal Hashem, the Award’s Secretary General and member of the Literary Salon. The panelists detailed their roles in the Award, explaining the participation criteria, submission acceptance factors, publishing regulations, and the judging process in terms of receiving, categorising, and organising submissions, as well as coordinating among judges, committees, and Salon members.

Seddiq announced that Somali author Saleh Dima had won the second edition of the Award for his first novel ‘Seasons of Sacrifices’, ranking ahead  of the two other main nominees, out of a total of 149 novels that met the Award’s criteria and were submitted for consideration. The second edition of the Award recorded an unprecedented participation, with 594 email submissions received, more than nine times the amount received in the first edition. A total of 149 novels, representing 25% of total submissions, entered the judging process, while the remaining novels were excluded.

Moreover, Seddiq noted that the shortlist included three novels from Somalia, Libya, and Algeria, with the Somali novel by Saleh Dima winning the Award at the end. Dima is a Somali writer and literary figure born in Kismayo in 1980, with this novel being his first. He will receive a cash prize of USD10,000, and the novel will be published in Arabic and translated into English, in collaboration with Dar Al Adab.

Saleh Dima expressed his happiness at receiving the award and talked about his writing experience. The session concluded with Seddiq and the judging committee announcing the opening of submissions for the third edition of the Award.

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