Egyptian Mohamed Rabie and Moroccan Tareq Bakari missed out as the winner of the ninth International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) was announced on Tuesday, 26th April at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. The $50,000 prize money and English translation of his novel went to Palestinian born Brit Rabai al-Madhoun for his novel Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba, published by Maktabat Kul Shee (Haifa, Palestine).
It was a final triumph for the writer as his 2010 novel, The Lady from Tel Aviv, was shortlisted for the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. It was subsequently published in English by Telegram Books in 2013 and won the English PEN Writers in Translation award that year.
A pioneering novel written in four parts, Destinies chronicles Palestinian life both in occupation and exile. Each part representing a concerto movement, the novel looks at the holocaust, the Palestinian exodus from Israel in 1948 (known as the nakba) and the Palestinian right to return. Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba is a novel of Palestine from outside and from within. It examines everyday Palestinian life, telling the story of Palestinians living under occupation and compelled to assume Israeli nationality, as well as exiled Palestinians trying to return to their now-occupied home country.
The judges for 2016 were Amina Thiban (Chair), an Emirati poet and academic specialising in literature; Sayyed Mahmoud, an Egyptian journalist and poet, who is currently editor of Al-Qahira newspaper; Mohammed Mechbal, a Moroccan academic and critic; Munir Mujić, a Bosnian academic, translator and researcher and Abdo Wazen, a Lebanese poet, critic and editor-in-chief of the cultural pages of Al-Hayat newspaper.
The Prize is supported by the Booker Prize Foundation in London and funded by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) in the UAE.