In 2010, Sudanese telecommunications company Zain announced the launching of the Al-Tayeb Salih award for creative writing as a memorial for the late author Al-Tayeb Salih. The annual prize is given in three categories: short story, novel and a third category that changes every year, chosen by the board of trustees. The prize aims to encourage literary contributions in the Sudanese community as well as the Arab world. Zain has set aside $200,000 for the prize and its accompanying events.
The award is for unpublished works written in the Arabic language.
For the fourth round of the competition, whose deadline was 29 August 2013, the prize committee received 587 applications from all over the Arab world and Africa. The three categories were short story, novel and drama script. Most of the applications came from Sudan, followed by Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.
The Egyptian authors Ashraf Hassan Al-Sharbini and Ibrahim Abdel Fatah Ibrahim Saad won in the category of short story. Al-Sharbini won the first prize, $10,000, for his short story “The Secret Life of Abdo the Barber”, while Saad won the second prize, $7,000, for his short story “Summer Rain”. On the other hand, the first prize in the Novel category, $10,000, went to Syrian female author Tawfikiya Ali Mohamed Khodour for her novel “I Will Recreate the Moon”, while the first prize, $10,000, in the drama script category went to Moroccan dramatist Zakaria Abumaria for “Season of Migration to the North”.
Tayeb Salih was a Sudanese novelist, born in Karmakol in Sudan in 1928. After studying in the University of Khartoum, he travelled to the UK where he continued his education at the University of London. The novel that launched his international fame was Season of Migration to the North, which tells the story of a young man’s return to Sudan after studying abroad. The novel explores post-colonialism and its effect on rural Sudan as well as the personal struggles of marrying east and west within a lone individual.
The guest of honour for this year was Sudanese author Hamadnallah Abdul Gadir.