Sharjah Book Authority has named Kuwaiti author Taleb Al Refai as “Cultural Personality of the Year” in the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Commenting on the news, Al Refai said: “I am honored to be chosen as the “Cultural Personality of the Year” at the 40th session of the Sharjah International Book Fair, especially that this honor came with the blessing of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah in the beloved United Arab Emirates. The first thing that came to my mind is that this recognition is not only for me but for my beloved country, Kuwait, and for all my fellow authors and intellectuals. I am the product of the great intellectual renaissance in Kuwait that began with the establishment of ‘Al Arabi’ magazine in 1958; which coincides with the year I was born, and the intellectual and creative achievements that ensued.
Al Rifai was named as ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ in recognition of his great efforts in supporting the Arab cultural scene. He held many posts, including Director of the Department of Culture and Arts at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters in Kuwait. In addition to fiction writing, He has authored many literary and historical researches, and is the president of the Al-Multaqa Prize for Arabic short story, which was established in 2015 and is organized in collaboration with the American University in Kuwait, where Al Refai teaches creative writing. In addition, Al Refai was head of the jury committee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2010.
It is worth mentioning that Talib Al Refai is a Kuwaiti novelist and short story writer born in 1958. He graduated with a BSc in Civil Engineering from Kuwait University in 1982 and obtained a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing from Kingston University in London. He began writing during his time in university in the mid-1970s. Some of his works have been translated into English, French, and German.
Some of Al Refai’s most famous works include: Abu Ajaj Tal Umrak (Abu Ajaj May You Live Long), Aghmid Rouhi Alaik (My Soul Closes on You), Mir’at Al Ghabash (Blurry Mirror), Hakaya Ramliyya (Sandy Tales), Sariqat Sagheera (Petty Thefts), Thil Al Shams (The Shade of the Sun), Ra’ehat Al Bahr (Scent of the Sea), Al Thawb (The Dress), Samar Kalimat.