Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Shortlist Announced for International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2016

Tareq Bakari, Rabai al-Madhoun, Mohamed Rabie, Mahmoud Shukair, Shahla Ujayli and George Yaraq have today, Tuesday 9 February, been announced as the six authors shortlisted for the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). Their names were revealed by a judging panel chaired by Emirati poet and academic Amina Thiban at a press conference hosted by The Cultural Club in Muscat, Oman.

The full 2016 shortlist, with author names in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Country of origin
Tareq Bakari
Dar al-Adab
Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba
Rabai al-Madhoun
Maktabat Kul Shee

Mohamed Rabie
Dar Tanweer, Lebanon
Praise for the Women of the Family
Mahmoud Shukair
Hachette Antoine
A Sky Close to Our House
Shahla Ujayli
Difaf Publications
The Guard of the Dead
George Yaraq
Difaf Publications

This year’s six novels are wide-ranging in subject matter, setting and style. They include:
the story of a Moroccan intellectual searching for identity through a series of relationships (Numedia); a pioneering novel, written in four parts – each representing a concerto movement – on the subject of Palestinian life both in occupation and exile (Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba); a dystopian imagining of “the counter revolution" in Egypt, set in a nightmarish future where the police battle against a mysterious occupying power (Mercury); the story of the Al-Abd al-Lat tribe, former Bedouins whose women play a vital role in integrating the family into urban Palestinian society during the 1950s (Praise for the Women of the Family); memories of Syria’s past and times of tolerance and simple pleasures from the viewpoint of a Syrian woman now living in exile in Amman after her town, Raqqa, is occupied by ISIS (A Sky Close to Our House) and, finally, a new perspective on the Lebanese Civil War through the eyes of a hospital undertaker, whose former life as a mercenary puts his life in danger (The Guard of the Dead).

One previously shortlisted author, Rabai al-Madhoun, makes the list. His novel The Lady of Tel Aviv was shortlisted in 2010 and has been translated into English by Telegram Books. One debut novel, Numedia, also makes the list.

Two of the shortlisted authors have participated in the IPAF nadwa, Mohamed Rabie in 2012 and Shahla Ujayli in 2014. Ujayli worked on what is now the fifth chapter of her shortlisted book, A Sky Close to Our House, during the workshop and credits the experience with helping her move forward with the novel.

The 2016 judges are: Amina Thiban (Chair), an Emirati poet and academic specialising in literature; Sayyed Mahmoud, an Egyptian journalist and poet, who is currently editor of Al-Qahira newspaper; Mohammed Mechbal, a Moroccan academic and critic; Munir Mujić, a Bosnian academic, translator and researcher and Abdo Wazen, a Lebanese poet, critic and editor-in-chief of the cultural pages of Al-Hayat newspaper.

The novels selected were chosen from 159 entries from 18 countries, all published within the last 12 months.
The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2016 will be announced at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 26 April 2016, the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The six shortlisted finalists will receive $10,000, with a further $50,000 going to the winner. | #ArabicFiction2016

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