ABU DHABI - The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), announced the continuation of its translation programme in 2023.

The programme, which comes as part of SZBA's commitment to advancing the cultural and creative ecosystem, is organised in collaboration with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), with the aim of enhancing knowledge and cultural exchange, reinvigorating literary translation around the world, and introducing the SZBA translation grant.

As part of the programme, the Award is organising a workshop for translation from Arabic to English at the International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School in Norwich from 23-29 July, which will be presented by the BCLT in collaboration with the National Centre for Writing.

Launched last year, the partnership with BCLT aims to reach the largest possible number of Arab translators residing in the United Kingdom and around the world, in addition to raising awareness about the translation grant provided to publishers.

The initiative also aims to overcome difficulties in communication with publishers interested in translation, and to highlight the SZBA’s vision and objectives.

Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of ALC and Secretary-General of SZBA, underlined the importance of the initiative and the effective role it plays in driving translation activity around the world, and its contributions to advancing the status and influence of the Arabic language, in line with the ALC’s strategic objectives to position Arabic in the lead as a language of culture, science, and creativity at the international level.

“This important programme encourages innovation in translation, helping talented professionals in the field to refine their skills and access relevant experts and specialists – all with the aim of nurturing the literary scene and communicating Arab culture and language to the world. This is yet another example of the value of international partnerships, which allow us to achieve the SZBA’s wider goals while fostering greater cross-cultural understanding," he added.

Anna Goode, Manager of the British Centre for Literary Translation, commented, “Thanks to the continued support of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, the British Centre for Literary Translation is excited to be able to offer another Arabic-English literary translation workshop at the International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School. This will be our first in-person Summer School since 2019, and we can’t wait to invite translators from across the globe to spend a week with us at University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. This is a wonderful opportunity for translators of Arabic literature to work closely with their peers, as well as award-winning authors and experts in the field of literary translation.”

Last year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award-supported BCLT Summer School workshop focussed on translation and creative writing. The week-long programme was moderated by literary translator Nariman Youssef, Arabic Translation Manager at the British Library, and author and media expert Haytham el-Wardany, and brought together writers and translators from around the world.

The workshop was the first to be held in Arabic at the Summer School in more than a decade, and demonstrated the SZBA’s commitment to supporting the professional development of literary translators and promoting literary translation as an essential catalyst for cultural dialogue.

The workshop was followed by a series of events in the UK that focussed on Arabic literature, including a literary translation workshop with Sawad Hussain, a research seminar with Michael Cooperson titled French Word Games, “Untranslatable” Arabic, and Global English, and the workshop Arabic Discourse on Translation with Sawad Hussain, Tarek Shamma, and Myriam Salama-Carr.

Registration for the International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School in Norwich is open until 27th March. Sessions will be offered specialising in translation from Arabic, Japanese, French, and Korean into English, as well as focussing on literature from Taiwan, alongside sessions orientated around multilingual poetry and prose.