The Sheikh Zayed Book Award hosted a panel discussion entitled 'Children's Literature Today — Voices from the Arab and German World' as part of its participation in the Frankfurt International Book Fair, taking place from 16 to 20 October 2019.
The event, held in partnership with the German Litprom Cultural Foundation, saw participation from Kuwaiti author Hussain Al Mutawaa, a Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2019 winner in 'Children's Literature' category; Dr. Christiane Raabe, the celebrated German children's book author and Director of the International Youth Library in Munich; Stephan Trudewind, Publisher of Edition Orient, Berlin; and Stefan Weidner, a noted German writer, translator and arabist. The conversation focused on children's literature, discussing the latest trends and developments in the sector. A key theme was the importance of increasing the number of translation projects in this field, fostering cross-cultural understanding by facilitating access to children's stories from around the world.
The seminar discussed children's literature between the Arab and German cultures and their common sources of inspiration, where each adapts its children-directed content to its acquired culture, trends and the new challenges it faces. Additionally, the talk mentioned a huge gap in the production of children's books in the Arab world, as it has long relied on the importation of materials from other languages, which has led young Arab generations to turn to foreign literature in various genres.
The winners of the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards 2019 were announced by the Department of Tourism and Culture — Abu Dhabi on March 18th.
Writer and former Minister of Culture of Morocco, Bensalem Himmich, received the Literature Award for his memoir »The Self Between Existence and Creation« (Culturel du Livre, 2018), in which he offers glimpses into the various stages of his writing process. The central question asks how one can find an individual creative process in the context of different cultural influences and existential necessities.
The young philosopher Dr Abderrezak Belagrouz from Algeria won the Young Author Award for his most recent work »The Essence of Values and the Freedom of Social Concepts« (The Arabian Establishment for Thought and Innovation, 2017).
His philosophical study is concerned primarily with the philosophy of the mind. It attempts to liberate the mind from scientific mathematical calculations and to explore the wide-open spaces of spiritual, moral and emotional values.
Hussain Al Mutawaa, born in Kuwait in 1989, received the Children’s Literature Award for his most recent book »I Dream of Being a Concrete Mixer« (Al Hadaek Group, 2018). The book is a clever narrative that delves into questions of destruction and rebuilding through the story of Haddam, who hopes to become a cement mixer. Between wishes and reality, stories, paradoxes and transformations, this book is beautifully written, with many twists and turns.