November 25, 2022

Emirates News Agency – Sheikh Zayed Book Award names Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Ghathami as Cultural Personality of the Year

ABU DHABI, 19th May, 2022 (WAM) — The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) – organized by the Arabic Language Center Abu Dhabi (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has named Dr. Abdullah Al Ghathami as a Cultural Personality for its 16th edition in recognition of his notable contributions to cultural movements in the region and the Arab world.

The SZBA Scientific Committee and its Board of Trustees chose Dr. Al Ghathami for her efforts in the fields of cultural criticism, feminist studies, poetry, and critical thinking. Since the mid-1980s, he has spearheaded a major shift in Arab critical discourse.

The series of books he authored – notably, Al-Khatee’a wal Takfeer (Sin and Atonement); AlNaqed Al Thaqafi fee Qera’at Al Ansaq Al Thaqafiya (Cultural criticism and reading of Arab cultural discourses); Tashreeh an-Nass (Anatomy of a text); Al-Mawqif min al-Hadatha (The attitude towards modernity) and Al-Kitaba Did al-Kitaba (Writing against writing), among others, helped to strengthen the foundations of modern Arab literary and cultural criticism , opening up new avenues for discussing poetic heritage. and modern Arabic creations by reinterpreting them from a critical point of view.

Dr. Al Ghathami was one of the pioneers of a form of modernity that does not advocate a break in knowledge, but rather stems from a belief in the re-reading of heritage works with a critical methodology that enriches and enlightens his creativity.

Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Secretary General of SZBA and President of ALC, said: “The Sheikh Zayed Book Prize today celebrates a renowned and highly accomplished literary personality, one with a long history and commendable dedication, who led the charge in highlighting the important role that criticism plays in the broader cultural movement. With his insightful and deeply informed vision, Dr. Al Ghathami has highlighted the achievements of Arab culture. He deepened his sciences, delved into his theories and presented modern and contemporary critical dissertations that covered a range of intellectual aspects. Dr. Al Ghathami has shed light on critical issues as a critic, thinker, philosopher and scholar with a deep connection to Arab culture, which forms the basis of his analysis and research. He has undoubtedly established himself as a pillar of literary and cultural criticism in the Arab world.”

Born in the city of Unaizah, Saudi Arabia in 1947, Dr. Al Ghathami worked as a professor of criticism and theory in the Faculty of Arts, Department of Arabic Language at King Saud University. Her academic and research efforts have shed light on feminist studies in what is often seen as the catalyst that launched the subject in the Arab world. His work is also considered a fundamental pillar of Arab critical and cultural discourse, promoting it on the Arab academic scene. Dr Al Ghathami also cemented his scientific and cultural credentials in the fields of criticism, philosophy and reason, where he authored numerous books and studies including Ma’alaat al-Falsafa: Min al- Falsafa ila al-Nathariya (The consequences of philosophy: from philosophy to theory) and Al-Qabeela wal-Qaba’iliyya aw Hawiyyaat ma baad al-Hadatha (Tribe and tribalism or post-modern identities).

In his long career spanning over five decades, Dr. Abdullah Al Ghathami established a pioneering knowledge movement, drawing attention to the importance of cultural criticism. He stood out in many fields, initiated dialogues and explored a host of issues and topics that helped cement his status at the forefront of the critical field in the Arab region. Dr Al Ghathami’s selection as a cultural personality for the 16th Sheikh Zayed Book Prize sheds new light on his work and writings, which have highlighted a range of critical issues in the cultural and intellectual movement.