The Moroccan Book Prize announces its 2020 winners

The prize, organised by the kingdom’s culture ministry, is one of the oldest literary prizes in the region

The Moroccan Book Prize was launched in 1962 and aims to elevate the state of culture and literary discourse in the kingdom. Unsplash
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One of the region's oldest literary prizes has announced its winners for 2020.

The Moroccan Book Prize unveiled its list of winners last week, featuring books and authors praised for elevating the kingdom’s literary and cultural scene.

Launched in 1962 and run by Morocco’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, winners of the Moroccan Book Prize receive cash, an official trophy and a certificate.

For this year's key poetry prize, the award committee crowned Mohamed Aniba El Hamri for Tartawi Yanjah Al Qaseed, an experimental poetry collection critically praised for being a meditation on the nature of the craft.

In its review of the work, Moroccan newspaper Al Ittihad Al Ichtiraki praised El Hamri for his adventurous streak.

"El Hamri's poems are linked to [the] suffering that comes with writing, and not to events and facts," the review read. "He dispenses within the reality, the myth and the metaphorical forms that control the direction of poems."

The winner of the Narration Prize was Chouaib Halifi for the novel La Tansa Ma Taqool (Don't forget what you say), while Mostafa Bouaziz took home the Human Sciences category for his research work The Moroccan Nationalists of the 20th Century 1873-1999.

For the Literary, Linguistic and Artistic Prize, Abderrahman El Tmara won for The Possible and the Imaginary: Political References in Narratives, a study examining the Arab novelist's role in conveying reality and the grey line between fact and fiction.

The Translation Prize went to books focusing on the history of Moroccan cities. Abderrahim Hazl won for translating Casablanca, from Origins to 1914, written by late Belgian diplomat Andre Adam, while Hassan Amili and Abderrazak El Assri were recognised for Rabat and its Region, originally published by the French Scientific Mission.

Abdellah Derkaoui rounded off the list, winning the Children and Youth Book Prize for his work And Life Goes On.

The prize committee said the winners were chosen from 222 entries, an increase from the 2019 prize, which had 10 winners from 119 submissions.