‘Women have done so much to nurture Arab culture’ - GulfToday

‘Women have done so much to nurture Arab culture’


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, honoured Lebanese author and critic Dr Yumna Al Eid (also known as (Hikmat Sabbagh), as the ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ during the inaugural ceremony of SIBF 2019 on Wednesday.

She won the award in recognition of the significant role she has played to promote the Arab literary scene through her contributions as an award-winning author and critic, for over four decades.

In her acceptance speech, she termed it as an honour to women’s achievements, in particular to those who have done so much to nurture Arab culture.

“I perceive this occasion as an honouring of women’s achievements, in particular, who have done so much to nurture Arab culture. Women writers liberate the collective consciousness from the practices and conceptions defined by a patriarchal culture. The fact that more women in our region are picking up a pen to write award-winning titles is a matter of pride,” she said.

She added, “I emphasise the importance of printed books, which we are celebrating here, and encourage book fairs and Arabic publishing houses to together promote the sustainability of Arabic language books as they are central to nurturing our future generations.”

Thanking the Sharjah Ruler and SIBF for the recognition, Dr Yumna Al Eid said, “I am delighted to be here with you at this cultural celebration in the Emirate of Sharjah. I have fond memories of Sharjah, which has been celebrating culture, books and authors without any discrimination by gender or nationality.”

Sheikh Sultan honoured Dar Al Khaleej, Press, Printing and Publishing House as the Sharjah International Book Fair media partner.

As the 38th Edition of Sharjah International Book Fair celebrates the Republic of Mexico as Guest of Honour country, President of the publishing industry of Mexico Juan Arzoz Arbide thanked Sharjah for shining a spotlight on Mexican culture, literature, art and cuisine at one of the largest book fairs in the world.

Speaking at the SIBF 2019 inaugural ceremony, he said, “We are delighted to have received this tremendous honour. We believe that books can change minds; they are a key source of knowledge. Books build strong cultural relations and promote social integration and development. This international fair, which hosts my country Mexico as Guest of Honour, has allowed our authors and intellects to deliver on this mission. We look forward to receiving you all at the Mexico Pavilion at SIBF.”

Sheikh Sultan honoured the winners of the 11th Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, which is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and sponsored by the Etisalat Group.

The awards were presented during the opening ceremony of the 38th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) on Wednesday.

Award for the ‘Children’s Book of the Year’ went for ‘A story on S & L,’ written by Anas Abu Rahma, illustrated by Lubna Taha and published by Al Dar Al Ahlia, Jordan.

The book titled ‘Whose Doll is This?’ won the ‘Young Adult Book of the Year’, written by Taghreed Al Najjar and published by Dar Al Salwa, Jordan.

The ‘Best Text’ Award went to ‘Damascus: A story of a city’ written and illustrated by Alaa Murtada and published by Al-Balsam Publishing House, Egypt.

Award for the ‘Best Production’ was won by ‘Abu Karkouba,’ written by Nabiha Muhaidli, illustrated by Walid Taher and published by Dar Al Hadaeq, Lebanon.

The ‘Best Illustration’ award was won by ‘I Fly,’ written by Dr Amani Saad Al-Najim, illustrated by Ali Khalid Al Zaini and published by ABC Publishers, Jordan. The newly added Award for the ‘Silent Book’ was won by ‘The Secret of the Well,’ illustrated by Masouma Haji Wand, ideated by Ali Al Qasem, and published by Dar Al Buraqh publishing house, Iraq.

This year the award had received 175 entries from around the world. While 98 entries were received in the ‘Children’s Book of the Year’ category, 68 in the ‘Young Adult Book of the Year’ category, and nine in the ‘Silent Book’ category which was introduced this year.

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