Sheikh Zayed Book Award launches first translations of winning titles

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The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) organised a seminar to launch the first translations of the award winning titles, as part of the activities of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019.

The titles translated through SZBA Translation Fund included: “The Dinoraf” by Emirati author Hessa Al Mehairi (winner of the 2018 Children’s Literature Category Award), which was translated into Italian, French and English by Italian publishing house Marcos y Marcos, and “The Madmen of Bethlehem” by Palestinian novelist Osama Alaysa, which was translated into Ukrainian as part of a collaboration with Ukrainian publishing house Anetta Antonenko.

HE Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Authority and Secretary General of SZBA, said: “Last year, we launched the Translation Initiative to introduce other cultures to SZBA-winning Arabic works, in line with our mission to enhance the popularity and readership of Arabic literature around the world. We are very pleased to publish the first translations of two award winning works in international languages with the support of notable Italian and Ukrainian publishing houses”.

Hessa Al Mehairi said: “I am very proud to see my work translated into three languages with the support of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, as it was a dream of mine to spread the Dinoraf’s story to as many children as possible around the world, which became a reality due to this great opportunity”.

Marco Zapparoli, Director of Marcos y Marcos, said: “Our decision to publish ‘The Dinoraf’ in three languages is inspired by the book’s elegant narration that portrays a significant topic in our time, offering an example of tolerance and acceptance of others to children, using age-appropriate style and wording to capture the different languages and views to depict the human world. We also produced a short film adaptation of The Dinoraf in English and Italian, with the Arabic version scheduled to come out soon. The reason we issued the book in all the four languages to enable young readers to compare the languages, especially Arabic, which is spoken by a large number of children in Italy.”

Anetta Antonenko from Anetta Antonenko Publishers, said: “We chose ‘The Madmen of Bethlehem’ by Osama Alaysa because of the striking similarities between the Palestinian cause and Ukraine’s past ordeals and political struggles. We expect the book to be very well received by Ukrainian readers, as it captures ideas and sentiments that both nations share.”

A part of SZBA’s efforts to establish bridges of communication, promote openness and offer the world access to meaningful Arabic titles, the seminar was organised to showcase the works of SZBA winners, highlight Arabic literary products and up the momentum of efforts to translate Arabic works into other languages through the SZBA’s Translation Grant, which was launched in 2018.

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