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Literary Award for Ali Al Tuma

Ali Al Tuma, PhD candidate at the Leiden University Institute for History, has won the Sharjah Award for Arab Creativity for his play ‘Yusuf Melik Espanya’ (Yusuf King of Spain), that tells the story of a young Moroccan whose brothers conspire to send him off, against his will, to the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Sharjah Award for Arab Creativity

The UAE-based ' Sharjah Award for Arab Creativity' contest, which attracts hundreds of participants each year, is geared towards aspiring young writers (under the age of forty) in Arabic who have not had an earlier publication in the fields of poetry, short stories, novel, theatrical play, child literature, and literary criticism. It is organized by the Department of Culture and Information of the government of Sharjah Emirate. 

The winning entries are published by the Department of Culture and Information. Winners are also invited to the UAE to receive their awards, which include a monetary prize at an official ceremony that is part of a multiple days program of cultural activities and literary workshops. 

Al Tuma’s winning play is titled ‘Yusuf Melik Espanya’ (Yusuf King of Spain) and tells the story of a young Moroccan whose brothers conspire to send him off, against his will, to the war in Spain in 1936. Here the protagonist experiences a number of adventures, both warlike and romantic, in his quest to survive his plight. The play touches upon themes of colonialism, intercultural contacts and stereotypes, religion and war-propaganda. The play was inspired by Al Tuma’s archival research into the role of the Moroccan troops in the Spanish conflict and his interviews with aging war veterans. Al Tuma is due to receive the Sharjah award in the last week of April.

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