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"Scenes" from the Arab Booker Announcement

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair officially kicked off this morning with a slew of professional and cultural events, including a conversation with Azar Nafisi and the announcement of a new distribution company serving the Arab World. (More on that later. Much later.)

Fair aside though, the big news of the evening was the announcement that Abdo Khal won this year’s Arab Booker award for Spewing Sparks as Big as Castles. (And yes, I realize that this title is a bit mistranslated. Can you really “spew” sparks? Do you want to? And as Heidi pointed out, “Big as Castles” is verbatim slang that just doesn’t quite work in English . . . ) Sounds like a potentially interesting book, and although I totally wanted Rabee Jaber to win for America (if only you could see him—he looked so cold and hungry, and deserving), all congrats to Abdo Khal, who seems like an interesting guy.

My attempt to document this event was a total fail though. Here’s the picture I took:

Not only did I get up there to take the picture after everyone dispersed, but Khal is obscured by a professional photographer (the only person in focus), and my finger is over the minuscule iPhone lens. Nice. I’ll try harder tomorrow at the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards. (Which are even more opulent. And take place at the Emirates Palace . . .)

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