Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 31, November 2002 


Reference work on history of the Arabic novel wins 2002 Noma Award

The Arabic Novel: Bibliography and Critical Introduction 1865-1995 (6 vols.) by Hamdi Sakkut has won the 23rd Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. Published by The American University in Cairo Press, this is the first time that a university press has received the award.

The Jury citation reads:

“This comprehensive bibliography of the Arabic-language novel is a monumental reference work that fills a gaping hole in the history of Arabic literature. Covering the most mature novels from Africa and across the Arab world, it presents a spectacular amount of bibliographic information, unsurpassed in its scope. The scholarship is both rigorous and daring, opening new research agendas in the field.”

Two South African titles received special commendation: Regions of Floristic Endemism in Southern Africa by Abraham van Wyk and Gideon Smith (Gauteng, SA: Umdaus Press (Pty) Ltd) and Rock Paintings of South Africa: Revealing a Legacy by Stephen Townley Bassett (Claremont: David Philip Publishers).

Three first novels were cited for honourable mention: Parched Earth by Elieshi Lema (Dar es Salaam: E&D Ltd), Slagoffers by Dine van Zyl (Cape Town: Tafelberg Publishers), and Welcome to our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe (University of Natal Press).

Ninety-four titles were submitted by 56 African publishers, covering 18 countries and six languages. The jury was chaired by Tanzanian publisher Walter Bgoya, and included Luli Callinicos, South African scholar and historian, Dr Ato Quayson, Director of Cambridge University’s African Studies Centre, and Mary Jay, Secretary to the Noma Award. The award is sponsored by Kodansha Ltd, Japan.

For further information contact Mary Jay, Secretary to the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, PO Box 128, Witney, Oxon OX8 5XU, UK. Email:

[BPN no 31, 2002, p. 15.]

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