Morocco’s Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication has decided to withdraw the 2021 Morocco Book Prize from a number of winners.
This came after the nine winners, Yahya El Yahyaoui, Idriss Makboul, Yahya Ben El Walid, Ahmed Bouhassan, Taieb Amkroud, Mohammed El-Jarti, Mohamed Ali Rabaoui, Hassan Oubrahim, and Boubkar Bouhadi, were unwilling to split the prize money between them.
The ministry said in a statement that its decision comes after the nine writers sent a correspondent requesting “the full amount of the prize to be paid according to the article 13 of the decree regulating the competition.”
The amount was equally distributed on the winners at the end of the competition. According to the decree, “the winner shall be given a certificate, a souvenir, and a sum of 120,000 dirham ($12,000).”
The statement shed lights on the value “and moral aspects of the award established around 50 years ago. It has gained the appreciation and respect of prestigious Moroccan writers and intellects in different fields. It’s challenging mission of studying and analyzing the qualified works has always been assigned to the best Moroccan intellects.
Commenting on the reasons behind the decision, the ministry “regretted the prioritization of the financial part of the award,” noting that the equal distribution of money prizes among winners is a global standard.
“We have always been keen to increase the financial prize and enhance other incentives,” the ministry explained, noting that “we won’t tolerate the disrespect of the most prestigious book award in Morocco.”
This award, given as a ‘national reward’ to those who contribute to enriching intellect, creativity, research, and translation in Morocco, has built a remarkable journey during which it has become “an annual celebration of Moroccan intellectual production,” and “merited its respectful position among the cultural circles in the country, and lured researchers, writers, and critics, in addition to major players in the Moroccan publishing industry.”