The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature

The 2020 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

Call for Entries

We are pleased to alert you to the Call for Entries to the 2020 Prize. It will be the 15th year of the prize dedicated to promoting contemporary Arabic literature in English translation. The deadline for both publication of titles and of entries to the 2020 prize is 31 March 2020. 

We hope that you have been busy selecting more great works for translation from the hundreds of interesting and powerful literary works published in Arabic. We are looking for entries of fiction or poetry – first published in English translation between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 and translated from full-length imaginative and creative Arabic work of literary merit and general interest, published in original Arabic after or during the year 1967. Entries can have been published in English anywhere in the world, but must be available for purchase in the UK, either through the usual distribution channels or online. We are very pleased to see that the number of publishers publishing Arabic literature in translation is growing, with 14 different publishers entering the 17 entries of the current 2019 prize.

The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is administered by the UK’s Society of Authors. There is now a very efficient online form to complete for each title entered. The full rules of entry can be found at and the online entry form is here:

Send the entries, 3 copies of the original Arabic, and 5 copies of the English translation. to:

          24 BEDFORD ROW 
           LONDON WC1R 4TQ

There is a judging panel of four, two who read both the Arabic and the English, and two who assess only the English. You can access all information about previous judging panels here.

It is preferable to present the judges with copies of the actual Arabic books rather than photocopied pages. If you have difficulty in sourcing copies of the Arabic originals via your translator or direct from the Arab publishers, do let us know directly on and we will help obtain them for you through our contacts with Arab publishers. We now also ask for e-versions or PDFs of the books, as judges find these very useful when they might be travelling.

Regarding the 2019 current year prize, the results will be announced on 8 January 2020 on our website at, where you can currently see details of both the shortlist and the 17 entries and judging panel. The 2019 Award Ceremony of all the UK literary translation prizes will take place on the evening of Wednesday 12 February 2020, hosted by the Society of Authors, with venue details etc, to be announced later. Our own event celebrating the winner of the 2019 Prize, hosted by the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature, will take place the following day 13 February 2020, full details to come.