Katara General Manager Dr Al Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti (left) presenting the award to Nasser Iraq.

Katara General Manager Dr Al Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti (left) presenting the award to Nasser Iraq.

Egyptian Novelist Nasser Iraq is the winner for Katara Prize for Arabic Novel 2016.

The Katara Prize for Arabic Novel is an Arabic literary prize based in Qatar established in 2014 by the Katara Cultural Village. The total prize pool is $650,000 and the main prize $200,000, making it one of the richest literary prizes in the world. Apart from the cash prize the winning novels are translated into five languages.

This year entries came in their hundreds from Arab and non Arab countries including Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Yemen and more. The winners were announced at a colourful ceremony at the Katara Arab Novel Festival on Wednesday October 12th, 2016 at the Opera House in Qatar.

The main prize in the overall published-novel prize went to Dubai-based Egyptian writer Nasser Iraq, for “Al Azbakia’ (2015), a historical novel set in Egypt in Napoleon’s time. That gentleman is now US$200,000 richer and it gets better as he also gets translated into five languages.

Speaking to The Peninsulan, Iraq said, “Winning this prize and translating it to drama is something very special and important to me. The Katara Prize for Arabic Novel plays a crucial role in promoting Arab culture and enhancing Arab creativity. It encourages the new generation of novelists and honours those that came before them. It contributes to spreading Arab culture internationally through translation.”

During the awards ceremony Katara General Manager Dr Al Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti presented to Abdullah Ahmad Mohareb, Head of Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) Katara’s initiative to mark October 13 as Arabic Novel Day. Ali Ahmad Al Rifai won the top prize of $100,000 for the unpublished category for his novel “Mero Family genes”.
Read more about the award ceremony here.