The award is an honor unlike any other..and winning is a responsibility

Written by: Maysoon Saqr

First, I say that the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has a different impact for me as an Emirati, as it bears the name of an authentic Arab figure who founded the United Arab Emirates, an immortal historical figure that we owed to her. and to the rest of the founding fathers, to His Highness the President of the State “may God protect him”, and to members of the Supreme Council, rulers of the Emirates. , thanks to our presence with this power on the map of global reality, and the support of the human community, as our state remains proactive in supporting societies to overcome their crises and confront natural and human disasters, believing that it is their duty is, based on the idea of ​​consideration and fear (meaning to support and the support of the weak), and concern that the UAE is a country Humanity, in its broadest sense, plays its role perfectly, decisively and competently without to bump, with no distance between intentions and deeds, between words and deeds. The UAE has upheld the founder’s approach as a model of tolerance and tolerance, and it has maintained a high-scented biography of the name of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul.
Today, I feel grateful and proud, and I honor this award, which is a medal on my chest, as the first Emirati writer to be awarded in the literature branch since the inception of this award, and that honor has been conquered eight other Emirati. in other branches in personality of the year, publishing and cultural techniques, development and nation building, and in literature The child and youth, and I now join them with pride, joy and pride. It is an honor unlike any other. I also felt great happiness and gratitude before all this celebration with which many in the Emirates and Egypt surrounded me, and from all our great Arab country. This puts me in front of a huge responsibility. I hope I am always at the good expectations of everyone who thinks well about the word and its role, of creativity and its necessity.
Today, as the winner of the most beautiful, best and most prestigious award, I am proud as an Emirati that I belong to a nation that appreciates creativity and creators, a nation that loves culture, reading and the arts a way made alive, and glorified the roles of intellectuals in the path of giving, development and enlightenment, an authentic and solid Emirati approach that continues under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the State ” may God protect him “, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and their brothers, members of the Supreme Council, Governors The UAE, as well as the presence and achievements of Sharjah with its unique cultural project at the Arab and international levels, continue with the vision and sincere support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. And access to the other as a true wealth of society’s wealth by issuing books, holding exhibitions for them, and presenting prizes to creators and publishers.
Nor do I fail to emphasize here with great loyalty and gratitude that the awarding of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award, as the first Emirati author to win it in the literature branch, is in fact an achievement commensurate with the achievements of Emirati women are added on all fronts. of work and creativity. Thanks to an ongoing historical process of support, support and guidance of the “Mother of the Nation”, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation.

  • Feathers Cafe in Cairo
    Feathers Cafe in Cairo

Actual archive
I think what the book does in writing novels, literature, art, poetry and critique, is to look at our lives from the doors of creativity and refine history as the tip of a pen, and to refine the professionalism of to establish storytelling and to reality, and to reveal what is hidden in wars, disputes and mistakes and to focus on it and on other human feelings, such as joy, love, education, violence and relationships Art, pain and artistic play. That is, the penetration between the arteries of imagination and myth, the flow of wisdom and culture, the free rein giving to imagination and imagination, the realization of the mind in thought and contemplation, to get rid of the impurities of hatred, discrimination, fanaticism and ignorance, and to place the real in its artistic framework.
The novels are the archive of real life mixed with dream and passion, as another addition to the ability to live and its main impact to be a creative document between reality and imagination. (Like our legend in the narrative which is associated with living reality). to present us externally and to establish our literary status (which we have intentionally or unintentionally neglected) alongside other places.

hare tracking
My book “Café Feathers .. Eye on Egypt”, published by Nahdet Misr, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Prize for Literature for the year 2022, was a search for this overwhelming presence in the formation of the city, its biography and personality as well as through a small dot in it through the cafe, about the culture of the cafe Not just as a place to sit, but as a container of place, date, time, events and relationships.
We can start from a point in place and time, but we do not finish it, except for this deep and great gathering in the biography or in the successive and accumulated hikes one after the other, like a rose blooming and its leaves in our hands. Like a heavy rain, it’s not a story of a cafe or a cafe, nor of any city. This is the history of the lost, hidden and destroyed in memory. Between reality in history, between biography and novel, between storytelling and art, and between particles when completed in a mosaic painting with all its details.
I shed light on some of the simple narratives or amazing results that have not been noticed, such as banning the mention of Saad Zaghloul’s name, so that people, for example, sing the song “Ya Balah Zagloul”, and messages are sent from all parts to put his name on the envelopes, to further remember, to confront, to camouflage, to play and to insist. Like a simple idea in which the defenseless stand, the idea of ​​forgetting, erasing or fighting silence. (It’s a more magical moment than the novels of wonder), or the book relates to what the author is about, as I find myself following in the footsteps of poetry in moments of transformation and creation. Fouad Haddad writes a poem in love with the Imbaba Bridge, or Amal Dunqul writes a poem about the platform of the Tahrir Square statue, on which no statue has ever been placed to call it the stone cake, or Ahmed Fouad Najm writes about a feathered intellectual … or passers-by and residents pretending to agree to the presence of Theater and music in a cafe can affect the silence of the night in their area and disturb their restful sleep. But it is a life filled with overlap, love, awareness and an awareness of the value of art. (Is it not Egypt that waited for Umm Kulthum to sing on the radio in houses and cafes on the first Thursday of every month, and life stops listening to her).

  • Cover of the book
    Cover of the book “Café Feathers”

But this is Cairo
I did not write a biography of flesh and blood, but I wrote a biography of flesh and blood, situations, events and changes, a biography of a city (not any city, but Cairo, and its name is Cairo).
And through a cafe in which his personal biography of structure, owners, documents, events, the biography of those present and the passers-by, and the biography of people who have passed, lived, mingled and interacted with each other, overlap. With the opening of the visual lens wider and further, the biography of buildings, streets and places, including them and the stories it contains, is formed. The further we are, the clearer the image of the city is based on the breadth and inclusion of the vision, and the closer we get, the cafe is a microcosm of the biography. The two personalities or locations overlap and exchange, the cafe location, which is within the larger and more comprehensive location, the city whose heart beats.
It is not a category, but rather follows the different categories and formats in the context of the presence of the central character (the cafe, apparently presented as a hero of the biography, but a hero around a different heroism to show another character) and the central character and (this is the city, which has the absolute true heroism in its context with history, people and events), We peek into it through a small hole in the great wall of modernity , then the vision is broadened and deepened in a time that exceeds one hundred years.
Playing on narrative was like a story unfolding through many games, such as championships, polyphony, and taking information from more than one medium (analyzing documents, history books, or searching for history in biographies, novels, poetry, and stories that in told in writing or orally from more than one medium with different vision or agreement), and put more than one idea for the beginning and the end, and how to divide internally to the character of the city in different conditions and dates to track, as well as the cafe, and play by hosting a specific hero to end the tournament for another, which is ultimately the city, and work on the idea of ​​narration from a view from above like the appearance of a flying bird and when tackling Landing by widening the circle of sight and then focusing and narrowing to a place through which we return and through other elements to fly again.
In the height the city was in its great mosaic, and in the downturn the cafe was a detail of it with its details and miniature compared to the city, and between the two covers of a book I begin a biography similar to the stories of the Thousand and One Nights, where everything in it drags me to stories, walks and hadiths, to end with a world similar to the reality of Egyptian life, the more I opened the story, Another hero of a story by the first story. and as it is said (the wider the vision, the narrower the phrase).

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