The highly-anticipated and significant award has revealed its final set of shortlists made up of 20 books by authors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, USA and France.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, which celebrates the life of the late Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE, awards excellence within the literary world from a variety of categories and age groups. This year marks the 15th anniversary of this annual event where the award has found a rise in submissions, as well as a shortlist dominated by female writers.

Winners from all the categories will receive a prize of AED 750,000, while the recipient of the prominent ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ award will receive an outstanding AED 1 million.

All winners will be announced in April, with a virtual ceremony held in May.

Here is the shortlist:


• Aan Ta’ashaq Al Hayat(To Love Life) by Lebanese author Alawiya Sobh, published by Dar Al Adab Publishing & Distribution in 2020

• Ghorfat Al Mosafreen (The Passengers Hall)by Egyptian novelist Ezzat El-Kamhawi, published by Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah in 2020

• Fee Athar Enayat Al Zayyat (In the Footsteps of Enayat Al-Zayyat)by Egyptian writer Iman Mersal, published in 2019 by Al Kotob Khan Library


Children’s Literature

• Hadyqat Al Zomorrod (The Emerald Garden)by Moroccan author Raja Malah, published by Dar AlMoualef Publishing and Distribution/ Maalem Printing, Publishing and Distribution in 2019

• Rehlat Fannan (An Artist's Journey)by Tunisian author Mizouni Bannani, published by Dar Al Mua'nasa Publishing in 2020

• Al Ghool wa Nabtat Al Olayq (The Beast and the Blackberry) by Emirati author Naseeba Alozaibi, published by Dar Ashjar Publishing and Distribution in 2019


Young Author

• Laylat Yalda (Yalda Night)by Egyptian novelist Ghada Al-Absi, published by Dar Al Tanweer in 2018

• Ma Tarkto Khalfy (What I left Behind) by Palestinian novelist Shatha Mustafa, published by Nofal/Hachette Antoine in 2020

The study is Eshkalyat Al Thaat Al Saredah Fee Al Rwayah Al Nesaayah Al Saudiah (The Problems of the Narrated Self in the Saudi Feminist Novel (1999 - 2012)(Critical Study) by Dr. Asma Muqbil Awad Alahmadi, published by Arab Scientific Publishers Inc. in 2020


Arab Culture in Other Languages

In English

• Arabic Poetics: Aesthetic Experience in Classical Arabic Literatureby Lara Harb from Palestine/USA, published by Cambridge University Press in 2020

• Arabic Oration: Art and Function by Tahera Qutbuddin from USA, published by Brill Publishers in 2019

• The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenmentby Alexander Bevilacqua from USA, published by Harvard University Press in 2018

In French

• L'Empire Islamique: VIIe - XIe siècle (The Islamic Empire: 7th - 11th Century)by French historian Gabriel Martinez-Gros, published in 2019 by Passés Composés.



• Impostures by Al-Hariri, translated from Arabic to English by Michael Cooperson from the USA, and published by Library of Arabic Literature in 2020

• Asr Elmany (A Secular Age) by Charles Taylor, translated from English to Arabic by Naoufel Haj Ltaief from Tunisia, and published by Jadawel Publishing, Translation & Distribution in 2019

• Noor men Al Sharq (Kayf Saadat Oloom Al Hadarah Al Islamiah Ala Tashkeel Al Alam Al Gharbi) (Light from the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam Helped to Shape the Western World)by John Freely, translated from English to Arabic by Ahmed Fouad Basha from Egypt, and published by National Center For Translation in 2018


Publishing and Technology

Bibliotheca Alexandrina from Egypt, Dar Al Jadeed from Lebanon, and Switzerland’s Unionsverlag


Contribution to the Development of Nations category

• Al Ghaos Abu Sabaat Arzaq(Diving: A Rich Source of Livelihoods) by Emirati writer Ahmad Mohammed bin Thani

• Al Intiqal Ella Al Democatyah: Matha Yastafeed Al Arab men Tajarob Al Akhareen?(Transitioning to Democracy: What Can Arabs Learn from Others' Experiences?) by Dr Ali Eldin Hillal from Egypt

• Turath Al Iste’ela’a bayn Al Folklor wa Al Majal Al Deeny(Legacy of Supremacy between Folklore and Religion) by Dr Saeed El-Masry, also from Egypt.


Literary and Art Criticism

• Khetab Al Omtholah, Hewar Al Al Fikr wa Al Sultah Moqarabah Tadawlyah Maarfyah (A Parable Discourse, the Dialogue of Thought and Authority – a Deliberative Cognitive Approach) by Moroccan researcher Said Jebbar

• Masar Al Tahdeeth fe Al Fonoon Al Tashkelyah, men Al Orsomah ella Al Lawha(The Path of Modernisation in the Visual Arts, From Drawing to Painting) by Tunisian author Khelil Gouia

• Akhlaqyat Al Taaweel: men Antologia Al Nass ella Antologia Al Fahm(The Ethics of Interpretation: from the Ontology of the Script to the Ontology of Comprehension) by Moroccan author Mohamed El-Hirech.


For more information about the award or the shortlist, visit