13 December 12 | Chad W. Post

Bit behind with this, but last week the longlist of the 16 novels in the running for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Literature (f/k/a the Arabic Booker) were announced.

This year’s longlisted authors come from nine different countries, including Kuwait for the first time. Rabee Jaber, who won the Prize in 2012 with The Druze of Belgrade, returns to the list and is joined by formerly shortlisted authors Waciny Laredj (The Andalucian House, 2011) and Ibrahim Nasrallah (Time of the White Horses, 2009), as well as Muhsin al-Ramly, longlisted for the Prize in 2010 for Fingers Pass. Twelve of the sixteen writers have not appeared in previous long or shortlists, though Mohammed Hassan Alwan is an alumnus of IPAF’s inaugural writer’s workshop, having participated in the nadwa in 2009. It was in fact during this workshop that he began writing The Beaver, which has gone on to feature in this year’s longlist.

Unlike some lists in the past, the 2013 longlist moves away from historical settings, with the majority focusing on contemporary issues from the last 25 years. These range from the impact of 9/11 on Arabs living in Europe to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle and political and sexual freedom and emancipation. Whilst the Arab Spring did feature heavily across this year’s submissions in general, the judges noted that the subject still needs some time to mature.

That’s an interesting statement about the Arab Spring as a subject . . . On a sidenote, Open Letter might be publishing its first Arab Spring-related novel in the near future. More info on that later.

In the meantime, here’s the list of the 16 books:

Ave Maria by Sinan Antoon (Iraqi, Al-Jamal)

Toya by Ashraf El-Ashmawi (Egyptian, Al-Dar al-Masriya al-Lubnaniya)

The Kingdom of this Earth by Hoda Barakat (Lebanese, Dar al-Adab)

I, She and Other Women by Jana Elhassan (Lebanese, Arab Scientific Publishers)

Jaffa Prepares Morning Coffee by Anwar Hamed (Palestinian, The Arabic Insitute for Research and Publishing)

The Beaver by Mohammed Hassan Alwan (Saudi Arabian, Dar al-Saqi)

Our Master by Ibrahim Issa (Egyptian, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation)

The Birds of the Holiday Inn by Rabee Jaber (Lebanese, Dar al-Tanwir)

Sinalkul by Elias Khoury (Lebanese, Dar al-Adab)

Lolita’s Fingers by Waciny Laredj (Algerian, Dar al-Adab)

The Return of the Sheikh by Mohammed Abdel Nabi (Egyptian, Rawafid)

Lanterns of the King of Galilee by Ibrahim Nasrallah (Palestinian-Jordanian, Arab Scientific Publishers)

The President’s Gardens by Muhsin al-Ramly (Iraqi, Thaqafa)

The Bamboo Stick by Saud Alsanousi (Kuwaiti, Arab Scientific Publishers)

His Excellency the Minister by Hussein Al-Wad (Tunisian, Dar al-Janub)

The Goatherd by Amin Zaoui (Algerian, Al-Ikhtilef)

I found the links to those three excerpts on Arabic Literature which definitely has the best coverage of this award. If you click there, you’ll find profiles of the Rabee Jabar novel and Hoda Bakarat’s. Additionally, there’s an overview of the list, information from one of the judges and more. Excited to see what else M. Lynx Qualey posts in the buildup to the January 9th announcement of the shortlist.


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