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The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, and its associated accolades, are presented annually to outstanding writers, intellectuals, and publishers, as well as young talent whose writing and translation in humanities objectively enriches Arab intellectual, cultural, literary and social life.

The Award is an independent cultural initiative administered by Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.

Richard van Leeuwen, Ph.D. (1992) University of Amsterdam, is senior lecturer in Islamic Studies at that university. He has published widely on the history of the Middle East, Arabic literature, and Islam, and is also a translator of Arabic literature. His publications include Notables and Clergy in Mount Lebanon (Brill 1994); Waqfs and Urban Structures (Brill 1999); (2004; The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia, 2 vols. (Santa Barbara 2004; with U. Marzolph); The Thousand and One Nights: space, travel and transformation (2007) and Narratives of Kingship in Eurasian Empires, 1300-1800 (Brill 2017).

Richard receives the Award for his book The Thousand and One Nights and Twentieth-Century Fiction: Intertextual Readings published by Brill Publishers (Leiden) in 2018, reveals how the Arabic collection of stories provided an endless resource for some of the most important authors of the 20th century, including both highbrow and popular writers.