Winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Share Literary Excerpts with Audience at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Share Literary Excerpts with Audience at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

May 4, 2024

The Fair hosted a special panel discussion for the award winners.

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 2 May 2024 – A select group of literary, intellectual, and publishing figures in the Arabic language were welcomed at the Thebes Stage at the 33rd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2024), where they shared excerpts from their intellectual works that qualified them to win the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) in its various categories this year.

The Fair hosted an exceptional panel discussion, chaired by His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Secretary-General of the Award and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), bringing together Dr. Khalifa Alromaithi, winner of the Award’s Contribution to the Development of Nations category; Dr. Mustafa Said, winner in the Editing of Arabic Manuscripts category; Dr. Reem Bassiouney, Literature category winner; and Dr. Houssem Eddine Chachia, winner in the Young Author category.

Also in attendance was Dr. Ahmed Somai, winner in the Translation category, and Frank Griffel from the Arab Culture in Other Languages category, along with representatives from Bayt Elhekma for Creative Industries in China, winner of the Publishing and Technology category, and Casa Árabe in Spain, which was honoured as Cultural Personality of the Year. The session was moderated by Dr. Nadia El Cheikh, member of the SZBA’s Scientific Committee.

H.E. Dr. Ali bin Tamim initiated the discussion by highlighting the impact of the Award on enriching the cultural life, describing it as a significant milestone in the Arab cultural landscape and translation efforts, leading to more high-quality publications.

Dr. Mustafa Said, a researcher in the field of music and Arabic melody, said that his work in music motivated him to investigate and complete his study titled ‘Safinat al-Mulk wa-Nafsiyat al-Fulk (Shehab al-Din) al-Muwashah wa-Musiqa al-Maqam al-Natiqa bil-Arabiya bayn al-Tantheer wal-Maras’ (The Ship of Possession and the Precious Ship (Shehab al-Din) – Muwashah and Arabic-speaking Maqam Music between Theory and Practice), for which he won the Award. This study is based on investigation and research to confirm that Arabic music can be taught in Arabic, considering that civilisations around the world have evolved and progressed through self-learning and the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

For his part, Dr. Khalifa Alromaithi addressed the issue of nomenclature, including geographical names and other names attributed to any natural or artificial landmark. He explained that Arabs have been more concerned with naming in terms of meaning or significance, reflecting their connection to the rich Arab environment that requires specific connotations to navigate. There is a need for nomenclature to indicate different forms of geographical routes, places, and landmarks observed in the Arab environment, such as rock formations. Things later evolved with knowledge and humans were able to map regions and countries, gradually integrating names into databases, which required standardisation, a task undertaken by international organisations.

Meanwhile, Frank Griffel touched on the significant works of Muslim researchers and scholars during the period of Ibn Rushd, emphasising that anyone studying the works of Al-Ghazali must avoid errors in Islamic philosophy, especially since Al-Ghazali contributed significantly to philosophy that is related to Ibn Rushd. Griffel attempted to present Islamic philosophy from the 12th century onwards, focusing on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, who contributed significantly to the philosophy of information.

Adding to the discussion, the representative from Casa Árabe asserted that the term ‘cultural dialogue’ is concise and that efforts should be made to enhance cultural exchange between Arabs and Spain through culture and books, along with conducting more workshops, many of which are already being held in Spain, as well as art shows in Arabic. There is a strong connection between Casa Árabe and the Madrid International Book Fair, with both believing that culture is the best route for strengthening human connection through the exchange of knowledge among members of different civilisations.

On a similar note, Dr. Ahmed Somai spoke about his work on the book ‘Al-Ilm al-Jadeed’ (La Scienza Nuova – The New Science) authored by Giambattista Vico, which Somai translated from Italian to Arabic, noting that the book enriches the Arabic library due to the accuracy and high level of the translation from Italian to Arabic, coupled with the professionalism in clearly conveying terms, structure, and formulation, in line with the original context. The importance of the introduction was also emphasised, both in terms of content and depth, as it contained numerous footnotes that helped clarify the ideas and information presented in the book.

Meanwhile, Dr. Houssem Eddine Chachia discussed his book ‘Al Mashhad al-Moriski: Sardiyat al-Tard fi al-Fikr al-Espani’ (The Morisco Landscape: Narratives of Expulsion in Modern Spanish Thought) which sheds light on the expulsion of the Moors who remained in Spain according to a historically documented papers in Spanish. The book is considered an addition to intercultural historical studies, examining civilizations and their relationships from a scientific perspective.

Last but not least, Egyptian author Dr. Reem Bassiouney shed light on her project, which explored the historical and societal development of Egypt in the medieval era, highlighting the nature of the Egyptian personality during that distinctive historical period in her award-winning book titled ‘Al Halwani… Thulathiyat al-Fatimiyeen’ (Al Halwani: The Fatimid Trilogy).

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