MONTREAL - Syrian author Zakaria Tamer has won the Al Amajidi Ibn Dhaher Blue Metropolis Arab Literary Prize 2009, which honoured the Arab writer's exceptional creativity.
The Prize, sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, seeks to increase global awareness of Arab writers and literature, and strengthen the role of the UAE in supporting interaction among cultures and civilizations.
Al Amajidi Ibn Dhaher is the name of a UAE poet who lived between the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century, and was one of the most important Nabati poets in the Arab Gulf region.
Zakaria Tamer, born in 1931, is one of the most famous short story writers in the Arab world, and the foremost author of children’s stories in Arabic.
His short stories are reminiscent of folktales, and are renowned for their relative simplicity on the one hand and the complexity of their many potential references on the other.
Most of Tamer’s stories deal with man’s inhumanity towards fellow man or women, the oppression of the poor by the rich and of the weak by the strong.
He has published collections of short stories, satirical articles and numerous children’s books. A selection of his works, entitled 'Breaking Knees', has been translated into English in 2008.
The $5,000 Prize is awarded annually for a lifetime of substantial literary achievement by an Arab writer working in any literary genre.
Linda Leith, Blue Metropolis Founder and Artistic Director, heads the Prize jury. The jury includes: Dr. Issa Boullata, scholar and translator; Mr. Hassan Isidean, translator and owner of the Middle East Bookstore; Mrs. Magda El Guindi, head of the culture section of Al Ahram newspaper; Mr. Abdulnabi Istif, professor of comparative literature and criticism at Damascus University.
Tamer will be receiving the Award at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, which takes place on 22-26 April, 2009.
The principal criterion for the prize being literary excellence, associated with the quality of a body of work, publication history, and the international reception of the work.