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.
Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within. . .
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .