Amir Tag Elsir

Sudanese author Amir Tag Elsir is on the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2018 Shortlist that was announced on Wednesday February 21, 2018. He is on the shortlist for his novel Flowers in Flames.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction is given to a novel in Arabic considered to be the best of that year. The prize which is the most prestigious literary prize in the Arab world was launched in 2007. Previous winners include Bahaa Taher (2008), Yusuf Zeydan (2009), Abdo Khal (2010), Mohammed Achaari (2011), Rabee Jaber (2012), Saud Alsanousi (2013), Ahmed Saadawi (2014), Shukri Mabkhout (2015), Rabai al-Madhoun (2016), and Mohammed Hasan Alwan (2017).

The longlist for this year was announced on January 17 with judges Ibrahim Al Saafin (Chief Judge), Inam Bioud, Jamal Mahjoub, Mahmoud Shukair, and Barbara Skubic choosing the books in the running for the prize worth US$ $50,000 to the winner and US$10,000 to all shortlisted. It included Egyptians Ahmed Abdel Latif and Rasha Adly, Sudan’s Amir Tag Elsir and Hamed al-Nazir, and Algeria’s Amin Zaoui.

On February 21, they announced those in the shortlist and the only African who made the cut was Amir Tag Elsir for his novel Flowers in Flames. Elsir is one of the most prominent writers to come out of Sudan in the recent past gaining more prominence as most of his work has been translated into other languages. This is not his first International Prize for Arabic Fiction shortlist as his novel Sa’id al-Yaraqat (The Grub Hunter) was shortlisted in 2011. His novel 366 did win the Katara Prize for Arabic Novel in 2015.

While the Northern African country has its own thriving publishing scene, Elsir becomes the second Sudanese writer to get on our radar following Bushra al-Fadil’s win of the Caine Prize last year.

The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction will be announced on April 24 at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Extra reading from Amir Tag Elsir can be found here as he speaks about his writing and everything around it.