Posted on August 16, 2016

Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) is pleased to announce that three of its fiction titles have been selected to compete for the 2016 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literature in Translation.

First established in 2005, the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is one of the most prestigious prizes for Arabic literature in translation and aims to raise the profile of contemporary Arabic voices as well as honor the important and difficult work of individual translators. With an annual award of £3,000 made to the translator(s), it is a highly sought after prize with an outstanding pool of submissions. 

The three HBKU Press books that have been selected for the prize are The Holy Sail, The Bamboo Stalk, and TelepathyWritten by Qatari author, Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoud, and translated by Karim Traboulsi, The Holy Sail​ is a gripping historical adventure set in the Arabian Gulf and became an instant best-seller in the region. Published in its original Arabic by HBKU Press, The Holy Sail​ has been heralded for very clear and accessible prose in English, due to the excellent work of Traboulsi.

The 2013 winner of the highly-esteemed International Prize for Arabic Fiction, The Bamboo Stalk is written by Kuwaiti author, Saud Al-Sanousi, and translated by Jonathan Wright. Heralded as a “brave and compassionate” novel, Wright’s adept translation of The Bamboo Stalk brings the story of a young Kuwaiti-Filipino boy navigating his dual identities to a wider and ever-growing international audience. Written by Sudanese author, Amir Tag Elsir and translated by William Hutchins, Telepathy is a psychological thriller that blurs the lines between reality and the imagined world. Hutchins has previously translated Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy.

"We are very proud to have published these three works of Arabic literature in translation,” commented Fakhri Saleh, Head of Arabic Publishing at HBKU Press. “As a leading publishing house in the Middle East, we strive to work with the most talented writers and translators and to introduce more and more readers to the wealth of literary works and voices from the region.”

Indeed, translation is at the heart of HBKU Press’ mission to support a vibrant literary culture in Qatar and the region. In addition to publishing original works in both Arabic and English, HBKU Press partners with highly-acclaimed translators to deliver top-notch works of Arabic fiction in translation. In the previous two years, judges of the Saif Ghobash Banipal prize have awarded the ‘Highly Commended’ category to two HBKU Press titles, June Rain (2014) and Land of No Rain (2015).  

As Qatar’s first and only university publishing house, HBKU Press delivers a diverse and robust collection of academic, fiction, non-fiction and children’s and young adult titles. In addition to the Banipal Prize, HBKU Press authors have been honoured with the First Book Award by the Edinburgh International Festival of Literature and the Best Story from the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature.