Belal Fadi, James Scanlan win ArabLit Story Prize 2022.

Belal Fadi and James Scanlan were declared winners of the ArabLit Story Prize 2021 on December 1, 2022.

The ArabLit Story Prize is an award celebrating the best short stories, in any genre, newly translated from Arabic into English. It was founded by Arablit.org, a leading resource on Arab literature in 2018. Previous winners have been Egyptian writer Mohammad Abdelnabi and Robin Moger (2018), Najwa Bin Shatwan and Sawad Hussain (2019), Hadiya Hussein and Shakir Mustafa (2020), and Mustafa Taj Alden Almosa, Maisaa Tanjour, and Alice Holttum (2021).

The three judges for the prize for 2022, announced in March, are writer and editor Dena Afrasiabi, fiction writer, literary translator, and professor Yasmeen Hanoosh, and literary translator Perween Richards. The shortlists for the award were made public on November 15 before the winners were announced on Thursday. The winning story is;

  • The Kid Sheikh, Belal Fadl (translated by James Scanlan).

Judge Perween Richards said: ‘The Kid Sheikh’ is a funny, swift take on the power of the truth in a world where even miracles must be sacrificed in order to stay safe. The translator captured perfectly the style of the original, a balance of long sentences flowing beautifully revealing the internal struggle of the characters, and the punch in the gut anger expressed in dialogue.  I thought the story captured the essence of what a short story ought to be perfectly; nothing overdone and everything in the right place.

Belal Fadl is an Egyptian journalist and screenwriter, born in Cairo in 1974. He has written scripts for a number of films and TV series, such as the series “People of Cairo” which won a prize for best Arab TV series, in 2010. James Scanlan is an Arabic-to-English translator from the UK based in Egypt.

The two will split the US$500 cash prize which is crowdfunded by ArabLit readers.