The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature

The 2021 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

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The 2021 Prize is open for entries

The 2021 Prize

The 2021 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation opened for entries on 30 September 2020. The 2021 Prize is the 16th edition of the prize, dedicated to supporting literary translation of contemporary Arabic literature into English and honouring the work of the translators. Usually we open the prize for entries on 31 October, but at the suggestion of the prize administrator, the Society of Authors, the opening date  was International Translation Day, ie. 30 September 2020. 

The deadline for both publication of titles and of entries to the 2021 prize is 31 March 2021.There were 14 entries for the 2020 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize, comprising 12 novels, one collection of short stories and one poetry collection. We are expecting a higher number for the 2021 prize, translated from the many interesting and powerful literary works published in Arabic, particularly as many publishers delayed publication dates this year after the Covid-19 lockdown closed down offices, bookshops, libraries and public events. Covid-19 is still with us, rampaging through the world, but people are reading, buying books in various formats. The online entry form asks also for PDF versions of the entries. The Society of Authors had to use these for the 2020 prize, their office being closed due to lockdown restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

We welcome entries of fiction or poetry, translated from full-length imaginative and creative works of literary merit and general interest, first published in their original Arabic after or during the year 1967, and first published in English translation between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. 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.

The full rules of entry can be found at

Online system for submitting entry forms

The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is administered by the UK’s Society of Authors. The Society has an excellent online entry procedure, with an easy to complete online form for each entry. On and after 30 September do go to this link on the Society of Authors website:

It includes all information about the prize. Click on the Enter Now button to access the online form. The rules and criteria of the Prize are given, and the information required at each step is clearly stated. 

For this online entry form, you will be asked to upload a front cover image, give short biographies of both author and translator, and say from where you heard about the Prize.  A copy of each uploaded entry will be emailed to the email address provided at the beginning of the process.

For each entry, five copies of the translation and three copies of the original publication should be sent to:


Important Note

As always, we are keen to avoid the mountains of photocopies of the originals that our judges are usually presented with and instead send them copies of the actual Arabic books, directly sourced from the Arab publishers. It is also possible nowadays to get photocopies made into book format.

We know it is likely that as the English publisher you may not have had any contact with the original language publisher and so we are more than happy to source these originals on your behalf through our longstanding contacts with the publishers. If this is the case, do email us directly on:

For more information about the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature, go to