The Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award present an online discussion on the cultural legacy of the Arabian Nights in world literature.
Professor Muhsin Al-Musawi, winner of the 2022 Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Arabic Culture in Other Languages, in conversation with Haya Alfarhan, will discuss his award-winning book and his research, as well as the enduring global influence of The Arabian Nights and why this book continue to fascinate readers today.
Prof Al-Musawi is professor of classical and modern Arabic literature, comparative and cultural studies at Columbia University, New York. A renowned scholar and literary critic, his teaching and research interests span several periods and genres. Prof al-Musawi is the author of 39 books (including six novels) and more than 60 scholarly articles. He also wrote the introduction and notes to the Barnes & Noble Classics Edition of The Arabian Nights. Professor al-Musawi is the editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature, the foremost academic journal in the field of Arabic literature. He is the recipient of the 2002 Owais Award in Literary Criticism, the 2018 Kuwait Prize in Arabic Language and Literature, and the 2022 King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Literature in English. In 2022, Dr Al-Musawi received the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Arabic Culture in Other Languages SZBA for his book The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures: Global Commodification, Translation, and the Culture Industry (Cambridge University Press, 2021), in which he examines the enduring vogue of the Nights among writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and philosophers, from Marcel Proust to Walt Disney. He considers their translation and appropriation in the context of colonial legacies.
Haya Alfarhan is a DPhil candidate in comparative literature at King's College London working on conflict, life writing, and Arab visual culture. She obtained her bachelor's degree in English literature and near eastern studies from the University of Michigan and her master's degree in world literature from the University of Oxford. Her work was recently published in the edited collection Documenting Trauma in Comics: Traumatic Pasts, Embodied Histories, and Graphic Reportage (2020).
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the world’s leading prizes dedicated to Arabic literature and culture. Since 2006 the Award has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding work by authors, translators, publishers, and organisations around the world.
Now in its 17th year, the annual Award aims to recognise some of the most challenging and exciting work coming out of the Arab world or engaging with its culture, including both literary and scholarly works.
The award does not only recognise major literary and cultural achievements, but also aims to boost the publishing industry through the Sheikh Zayed Translation Grant, which aims to help produce more quality Arabic books that are translated, published and distributed outside the Arab world.