The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature

The Sponsor

Omar Saif Ghobash

The Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is wholly sponsored by Omar Saif Ghobash and the Ghobash family in memory of his father the late Saif Ghobash (21 October 1932 – 25 October 1977), and is known as The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. 

From the United Arab Emirates, Saif Ghobash was passionate about the literature of the Arab world and the literatures of other countries. He travelled and studied widely, loved the world of books, and had his own collection in many different languages which his family has inherited. 

“A prize for people who are so dedicated to the power of literature and the power of translation seems so clearly something my father would have supported himself,” said Omar Saif Ghobash, adding: “When I spoke with the other members of our family, they supported the idea immediately – before I could finish my sentence! It is a small but fitting tribute to my father’s memory.” 


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This award for Arabic literary translation was the first prize in the world dedicated to awarding published translation of contemporary Arabic literature into English. The continued sponsorship of the Ghobash family after the prize reached its tenth year in 2015 is much appreciated. To mark ten years of the award for literary translation from Arabic to English, Omar Saif Ghobash and his family have extended their sponsorship to the establishment of an Annual Lecture, the inaugural lecture being held at the British Library, London, on 14 October 2016.

With the Lecture, the Banipal Trust looks forward to increasingly wider support for reading literature from the Arab world in English translation, and to working with publishers, translators and booksellers to encourage and promote both the wider translation and wider availability of contemporary works of literature by Arab authors.