Although the official announcement isn’t available at the IPAF website (which is surprising and disappointing), it’s being reported elsewhere that Egyptian novelist Baha Taher has received the first International Prize for Arabic Fiction for the novel Sunset Oasis.
At least there’s a bit of info about the author and book available on the official website. (Really, just a bit of info. I’m not even going to repeat my desire for 5 page samples . . . if they can’t even get the announcement of the winner online, odds are pretty solid that there’s not going to be any excerpts.):
Bahaa Taher was born in Giza (Greater Cairo) in 1935, to Upper Egyptian parents from the village of Karnak, Luxor. He holds postgraduate diplomas in History and Mass Media from Cairo University. He has published 14 books (6 novels, 4 short story collections, and 4 non-fiction works), as well as numerous translations from English and French.
Sunset Oasis (Publisher: Al Shorooq, Cairo, 2007)
Baha Taher delivers in this book a high quality fiction work, at both the aesthetic and value levels. And depending on the metaphor of the journey that crystallizes the existential crisis of a defeated man, he deals with many broad human questions.
All of the authors on the shortlist received $10,000 and Taher receives an additional $50,000 as the prize winner.
I think it would be fantastic if something like this led to greater exposure for Arabic literature, and, as can be seen from this quote in Lebanon’s Daily Star, the people involved have big hopes for the award:
“We are certain that this new prize will soon achieve the reputation and success of the Booker Prize itself,” remarked Jonathan Taylor, chair of the IPAF board of trustees and chair the Booker Prize Foundation. “We shall hope to carry the influence of new Arabic literature all over the world, in Arabic as well as in translation.”
Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s newest bilingual collection of poems available in English, is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel. A former professional ice dancer(!), Polonskaya left the. . .
In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or. . .
There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.1
They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice.
The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo. . .
Poetry always has the feel of mysticism and mystery, or maybe this feeling is a stereotype left over from high school literature class. It is generally the result of confusion, lack of time committed to consuming the poetry, and the. . .
Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic is not only a translation, but a transformation. It is a translation of Jean Genet’s novel Notre Dame des Fleurs, transmuted from prose to poetry. Originally written in prison as a masturbatory aid (Sartre. . .
Equal parts stoner pulp thriller and psycho-physiological horror story, a pervasive sense of dread mixes with a cloud of weed smoke to seep into every line of the disturbing, complex Under This Terrible Sun. Originally published by illustrious Spanish publishers. . .
From the start, Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, published by Canadian press Talonbooks, is obviously a novel of form. Known also as a graphic designer in Quebec, Canty takes those skills and puts them towards this “novel of inventory” and creates a. . .
Throughout his career—in fact from his very first book, Where the Jackals Howl (1965)—the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz has set much of his fiction on the kibbutz, collective communities he portrays as bastions of social cohesion and stultifying conformity. . .
Antoon gives us a remarkable novel that in 184 pages captures the experience of an Iraqi everyman who has lived through the war with Iran in the first half of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War over the Kuwaiti invasion,. . .
Every fictional work set in L.A. begins with a slow crawl through its streets in the early hours of the morning right after sunrise. Maybe it’s always done this way to emphasize the vast sprawl of the city and highlight. . .