Sheikh Zayed Book Award Hosts ‘Trends in Children’s Literature- Arab and German Voices’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award hosted a panel discussion entitled ‘Children’s Literature Today – Voices from the Arab and German World’ yesterday, as part of its participation in the Frankfurt International Book Fair, taking place from 16 to 20 October 2019.
The event, held in partnership with the German Litprom Cultural Foundation, saw participation from Kuwaiti author Hussain Almutawaa, a Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2019 winner in ‘Children’s Literature’ category; Dr. Christiane Raabe, the celebrated German children’s book author and Director of the International Youth Library in Munich; Stephan Trudewind, Publisher of Edition Orient, Berlin; and Stefan Weidner, a noted German writer, translator and arabist. The conversation focused on children’s literature, discussing the latest trends and developments in the sector. A key theme was the importance of increasing the number of translation projects in this field, fostering cross-cultural understanding by facilitating access to children’s stories from around the world.
The seminar discussed children’s literature between the Arab and German cultures and their common sources of inspiration, where each adapts its children-directed content to its acquired culture, trends and the new challenges it faces. Additionally, the talk mentioned a huge gap in the production of children’s books in the Arab world, as it has long relied on the importation of materials from other languages, which has led young Arab generations to turn to foreign literature in various genres.
HE Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Authority and Secretary General of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, said: “We are delighted to see the impact of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s efforts in promoting Arabic literature through international platforms, in a step to support the Arab writer’s journey in shaping and realising a solid literary vision. Through our participation in this seminar on children’s literature, we witnessed an intellectual interaction between the Arab and German worlds, which presented the joint paths of inspiration, the process of selecting the right books to showcase across such
events, and the efforts to promote translation and the book industry through meaningful seminars that bring together the winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and leading international writers and professionals”.
Hussain Almutawaa, winner of Sheikh Zayed Book Award for his children’s title I Dream of Being a Concrete Mixer, said: “I am very happy to be part of this international event here today, to not only highlight Arab culture but to discover German and other cultures and literatures of the world. We hope that with these sessions we may promote children’s literature and show its importance, as I believe it does not receive the same attention and interest that other categories of literature and arts in the Arab world have.”
“I personally consider the Sheikh Zayed Book Award as one of the most important and esteemed institutions to communicate the voice of the Arab writer, through its efforts to enable the exchange of experiences among its participants and consequently facilitating the establishment of numerous cultural dialogues, and I am grateful and thankful to have been granted such an opportunity”. Almutawaa added.
Sheikh Zayed Book Award is also organising another event at Frankfurt Book Fair, gathering the most important international publishers from China, Germany, France and Russia to discuss cooperation between international publishing houses through the translation initiative organised by the Award. The Award’s translation arm aims to translate winning titles in order to provide greater international exposure to Arab literary creations and communicate the voices of contemporary Arab writers to the world. The Award is also organizing an event to launch the English, French, Italian and Ukrainian translations of the winning books in the ‘Children’s Literature’ and ‘Literature’ categories, in the presence of the authors and representatives of the international publishing houses that published the translated titles.