Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation #seanocarolan.com #writing #Prize

The Prize


The prize is an annual award of £3,000, made to the translator(s) of a published translation in English of a full-length imaginative and creative Arabic work of literary merit published after, or during, the year 1967 and first published in English translation in the year prior to the award.

As the interest in literature from the Arab world has increased the Trust became concerned that the original cut-off point that we had for the original Arabic publication of 35 years could soon prevent translations of important authors being entered for the only prize in the world for Arabic literary translation. After much discussion the Trustees decided to extend the original Arabic publication date to after, or during, the year 1967, widely recognised as a "watershed" year for Arabic literature. "The date of 1967 . . . one of those historical watersheds that not only divide one historical period from another but also call radically into question the very principles by which literary historical periods and thereby the relationships between present and past, are established in the first place." Roger Allen, in Intertextuality in Modern Arabic Literature after 1967

2014 marks this change in entry requirements. Entry for the 2014 prize is now closed. 17 entries were received and are now being considered by the new panel of judges. As per last year, the entries are listed on the 2014 Award Page, with most of them pictured above in a display in the BALMAL Library at the Arab British Centre.

The 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is awarded to Sinan Antoon, for his translation of his own novel The Corpse Washer, published by Yale University Press.

Paula Haydar is highly commended for her translation of June Rain, by Jabbour Douaihy, published by Bloomsbury Qatar Publishing Foundation.

For the judges' report and reactions of the winner, highly commended and the publishers, please click here. The 2014 panel of judges comprised the current co-winner Jonathan Wright, plus Paul Blezard, Lulu Norman and Samuel Shimon. For all information about the Judging Panel, please click here.


The prize will be awarded on 25 February, 2015, at Europe House, Smith Square, London, along with the other literary translation prizes administered by the UK's Society of Authors.

The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize aims to raise the profile of contemporary Arabic literature as well as honouring the important work of individual translators in bringing the work of established and emerging Arab writers to the attention of the wider world. It was established by Banipal, the magazine of modern Arab literature in English translation, and the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature. The inaugural prize was awarded on 9 October 2006.

The prize is administered by the Society of Authors in the United Kingdom and joins a number of prizes for translation from languages that include Dutch, French, German, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, all administered by the Society and awarded annually at a joint ceremony hosted by the Society and the TLS and supported by Arts Council England.

For the full rules and conditions for the prize click here.

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The Sponsor

Omar Saif Ghobash

The Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is wholly sponsored by Omar Saif Ghobash and his family in memory of his father the late Saif Ghobash, and is known asThe Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.

Fom the United Arab Emirates, Saif Ghobash was passionate about the literature of the Arab world and the literatures of other countries. He loved the world of books, and had his own collection in many different languages which his family has inherited.

“A prize for people who are so dedicated to the power of literature and the power of translation seems so clearly something my father would have supported himself,” said Omar Saif Ghobash, adding: “When I spoke with the other members of our family, they supported the idea immediately – before I could finish my sentence! It is a small but fitting tribute to my father’s memory.”

This Award for Arabic literary translation is the only one in the world for published translations from Arabic to English. 2013 is its eighth year and the continued sponsorship of the Ghobash family is much appreciated. The Banipal Trust, which established the prize, looks forward to working keenly with both publishers and translators in the English-speaking world to both encourage and promote the wider translation of contemporary works of literature by Arab authors.



The Society of Authors


The Society of Authors is the administrator of the prize. Founded in 1884 "to protect the rights and further the interests of authors", it has over 7,500 members. Its first president was Alfred Lord Tennyson. Among its members have been many prominent writers, including George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, H G Wells, J M Barrie, John Masefield, E M Forster, A P Herbert, and countless contemporary writers.

Other literary translation prizes administered by the Society are:
Scott Moncrieff Prize for French Translation
Hellenic Foundation for Culture Award for Greek Translation (triennial)
Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation
Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish Translation (triennial)
Vondel Prize for Dutch Translation (biennial)
Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Portuguese Translation (triennial)
Premio Valle Inclan for Spanish Translation
John Florio Prize for Italian Translation (biennial)


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