Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize (Arabic)

The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is an annual award of £3,000, established by Banipal Magazine and the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature, for published translations from Arabic of full-length works of imaginative and creative writing of literary merit and general interest. The prize is sponsored by Omar Saif Ghobash and the Ghobash family in memory of his father, a passionate bibliophile, and is administered by the Society of Authors. 

The 2022 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is now open for submissions.

The 2021 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize

Winner: Sarah Enany for a translation of The Girl with Braided Hair 

by Rasha Adly (Hoopoe an Imprint of AUC Press).

You can watch and listen to a reading of The Girl With Braided Hair given by Sarah Enany here.

With thanks to the judges: Roger Allen, Rosemarie Hudson, Ronak Husni, Caroline McCormick 

If you are interested in any of the books here please visit: Blackwells and Bookshop

The 2022 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is now open for submissions.

  • The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2022.
  • Entries must be translations from Arabic into English.
  • Entries must have been published between April 2021 and March 2022.
  • The deadline for both entries and publication for the 2022 Prize is 31 March 2022.
  • Full Terms and Conditions will be listed at the start of the entry form.
  • Presented at a ceremony in 2023.

For any queries relating to the prize please contact

2020 (presented 2021)

  • Winner: Kay Heikkenen for a translation of Velvet by Huzama Habayeb (Hoopoe an Imprint of AUC Press)
  • Shortlisted: Jonathan Wright for a translation of The Egyptian Assassin by Ezzedine C. Fishere (Hoopoe an Imprint of AUC Press)
    • Sophia Vasalou for a translation of The Old Woman and the River by Ismail Fahd Ismail (Interlink Books)
    • Alexander E. Elinson for a translation of A Shimmering Red Fish Swims with Me by Youssef Fadel (Hoopoe an Imprint of AUC Press) 
    • Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Sue Copeland for a translation of Trees for the Absentees by Ahlam Bsharat (Neem Tree Press)

2019 (presented 2020)

  • Winner: Leri Price for a translation of Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa (Faber & Faber)
  • Shortlisted: Marilyn Booth for a translation of Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Sandstone Press)
    • Humphrey Davies for a translation of My Name is Adam: Children of the Ghetto Volume 1 by Elias Khoury (MacLehose)
    • Jonathan Wright for a translation of Jokes for the Gunman by Mazen Maarouf (Granta Books)

2018 (presented in 2019)

  • Winner: Luke Leafgren for a translation of The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli (MacLehose Press/Quercus)
  • Shortlisted: Benjamin Koerber for a translation of Using Life by Ahmed Naji and illustrated by Ayman Al Zarkany (CMES Publications UT Austin)
    • Khaled Mattawa for a translation of Concerto al-Quds by Adonis (Yale University Press)
    • Jonathan Wright for a translation of Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Oneworld)

2017 (presented 2018)

  • Winner: Robin Moger for a translation of The Book of Safety by Yasser Abdel Hafez (Hoopoe Fiction, AUC)
  • Shortlisted: Katherine Halls and Adam Talib for a translation of The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem (Duckworth)
    • Leri Price for a translation of No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa (Hoopoe Fiction, AUC)
    • Anna Ziajka Stanton for a translation of Limbo Beirut by Hilal Chouman (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas Press)

2016 (presented 2017)

  • Winner: Jonathan Wright for a translation of The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)

2015 (presented 2016)

  • Winner: Paul Starkey for a translation of The Book of the Sultan’s Seal by Youssef Rakha (Interlink)
  • Commended: Jonathan Wright for a translation of Land of No Rain by Amjad Nasser (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation)


  • Winner: Sinan Antoon for a translation of his own novel The Corpse Washer (Yale University Press)
  • Commended: Paula Haydar for a translation of June Rain by Jabbour Douaihy (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation)


  • Joint winners: Willian Maynard Hutchins for a translation of A Land Without Jasmine by Wajdi al-Ahdal (Garnet) and Jonathan Wright for a translation of Azazeel by Zoussef Ziedan (Atlantic).


  • Winner: Roger Allen for a translation of A Muslim Suicide by Bensalem Himmich (Syracuse University Press)
  • Commended: Humphrey Davis for a translation of I Was Born There, I Was Born Here by Mourid Barghouti (Bloomsbury)


  • Winner: Khaled Mattawa for a translation of Selected Poems by Adonis (Yale University Press)
  • Runner-up: Barbara Romaine for a translation of Spectres by Radwa Ashour (Arabia Books)
  • Commended: Maia Tabet for a translation of White Masks by Elias Khoury (Archipelago Books)


  • Winner: Humphrey Davies for a translation of Yalo by Elias Khoury (MacLehose Press)
  • Joint runners-up: Kareem James Abu-Zeid for a translation of Cities Without Palms by Tarek Eltayeb (Arabia Books) and Humphrey Davies for a transaltion of Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher (Sceptre).


  • Winner: Samah Selim for a translation of The Collar and the Bracelet by Yahya Taher Abdulla (American University in Cairo Press)
  • Joint runners-up: Elliott Colla for a transaltion of Gold Dust by Ibrahim al-Koni (Arabia Books/Haus Publishing) and Michelle Hartman for a translation of Wild Mulberries by Iman Humaydan Younes (Interlink Books).


  • Winner: Fady Joudah for a translation of The Butterfly’s Burden by Mahmoud Darwish (Bloodaxe Books)
  • Runner up: Ghassan Nasr for a translation of The Journals of Sarab Affan by Jabra Ibran Jabra (Syracuse University Press)
  • Commended: for a translation of The Man from Bashmour by Salwa Bakr (American University in Cairo Press)


  • Winner: Farouk Abdel Wahab for a transaltion ofThe Lodging House by Khairy Shalaby (American University in Cairo Press)
  • Runner up: Marilyn Booth for a translation of Thieves in Ritirement by Hamdi Abu Golayyel (Syracuse University Press)
  • Commended: Peter Theroux for a transaltion offor Saraya, the Ogre’s Daughter by Emile Habiby (Ibis)


  • Winner: Humphrey Davies for a transaltion ofGate of the Sun by Elias Khoury (Harvill Secker)
  • Runner up: Hala Halim for a translation of Clamor of the Lake by Mohamed El-Bisatie (American University in Cairo Press)