The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is the only Arabic literary translation award dedicated to the translation of contemporary Arabic literature into English. It not only aims to raise the profile of contemporary Arabic literature, but also to honor the important work of translators who bring the work of emerging Arab writers to the world.
The award was created by the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature and by Banipal, a U.K.-based magazine founded by Margaret Obank and her Iraqi writer and journalist husband, Samuel Shimon, in 1998.
In an article written for Yourmiddleeast.com, writer Brian Whitaker suggests there has been a surge in interest in Arabic literature in the U.S. and across the world, spurred by the events of 9/11, the Arab Spring and the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. But, he says the interest is not so much for the literary qualities of the works but for what Iraqi poet and novelist Sinan Antoon described as "forensic interest", meaning reading it for the purpose of "anthropology or ethnology or getting into the Arab mind".
Only translations of works originally published in Arabic in 1967 or later are eligible for entry. This year 19 titles are in contention for the Banipal prize, of which, 17 are fiction titles and two poetry.
You can find a complete list of this year's entries on Banipaltrust.org.uk, including the names of the publishers, translators and authors.
The 2015 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize was awarded to Paul Starkey for his translation of the novel The Book of the Sultan's Seal by Youssef Rakha, published by Interlink Books in the United States. Professor Starkey, who will be a judge this year, is a former Professor of Arabic and Head of the Arabic Department at Durham University in the U.K.
The 2016 winner will be announced in December at the Society of Authors in London.
For more information on the rise of Arabic literature translation, please see: Qantara.de
Further Resources on Arabic Culture, Language and Translation
Globalization Partners International (GPI) has extensive experience localizing marketing materials, technical documents, and large, scalable websites into the Arabic language. We have previously posted a number of useful guides for best practices in this area. Feel free to review our blogs that are particularly relevant:
- Arabic Language Translation eBook
- Arabic SEO and Localization
- Microsoft Introduces Arabic Translation to Skype
- Connections between Arabic and Hebrew
- What Are the Differences Between Arabic Languages?
- Ramadan - The Month of Blessings
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About the Author
Hebatullah (Heba) Mahmoud Nady is a native Arabic speaker who lives in Cairo, Egypt. She has 11 years of experience in client relations and project management, working in different industries, such as publishing, oil and gas and translation and localization. Heba holds a B.A. degree in English Language and Literature from Ain Shams University, and has a great passion for language and culture. She has been actively managing many localization and translation projects for major clients since 2008 and is well versed in a wide range of localization tools and practices. Heba enjoys working with teams from different cultures and bringing people together to achieve a common goal. For her, translation is a mission that contributes to enriching Arabic and other cultures and languages. In her free time, Heba likes to read about literature and management and go sightseeing.More Content by Heba Nady