Sheikh Zayed Book Award to accept works in Spanish for its Ninth Session

ABU DHABI: Spanish academics and scholars have praised the Sheikh Zayed Book Award s initiative to accept literary works in Spanish for the Arabic Culture in Other Languages category in its ninth session of 2014/2015, seeing it as a step towards reinforcement of Arab-Hispanic ties and the promotion of Arabic cultural and literary studies in countries with Spanish-speaking populations across the globe.

The category is devised to honour all written works in non-Arab languages about Arabic civilisation and culture.

Professor Pedro Montavez, the renowned Spanish Arabist, scholar, translator and author, and Sheikh Zayed Book Award s winner of the Cultural Personality of the Year Category in 2009, commended the Award s decision, stating that it serves a pressing cultural requisite and will see positive reactions throughout the Hispanic literary communities. “Spanish is the second most used language throughout the majority of Latin American countries, and it is still growing as a foreign language across the globe”, Professor Montavez added.

Besides Spanish, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award will accept works in English and Japanese for the ninth session. The period for nominations for this cycle will extend until 1st of September, 2014.

Reflecting on the news, Edwardo Busquets, Ambassador at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of “Casa Arabe” Spanish for The Arabic House a Spanish public consortium headed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, commented, “Casa Arabe is looking forward to cooperating with the Sheikh Zayed book Award, an internationally celebrated Award, as it opens massive opportunities for Spanish researchers and creative writers to showcase their work on Arabic culture in Spanish, which reaches a wide base of audiences worldwide.”

Since 2006, Casa Arabe has been operating as a focal centre for Spain s relations with the Arab world, specifically in terms of promoting economic relations, spreading knowledge and channelling inter-cultural dialogue.

Saeed Hamdan, Manager of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, said, “Arabic and Spanish languages share a common history since the age of the Islamic Empire in Andalusia, which harboured many tribes, religions, and races that coexisted in, and contributed to, its intellectual prosperity, whether it is in philosophy, sciences or arts. And so we are delighted to welcome nominations in Spanish for this session to further enrich the creative works accepted for this category.”

Since the establishment of the Arabic Culture in Other Languages category, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has accepted works of exceptional writers, intellectuals and orientalists in English, Russian, Italian, Chinese and German, and named Mario Leverani from Italy, and Marina Warner from the U.K., winners of the category in 2014 and 2013 respectively.