Egyptian writer Mohammad Abdelnabi is the only African on the ArabLit Story Prize 2018 shortlist announced on September 15, 2018.
The ArabLit Story Prize is a new award for the best short stories, in any genre, newly translated from Arabic into English. Translators must have rights to the work, and translations must have been previously unpublished. The new prize would be judged by novelist, short-story writer, and critic Maan Abu Taleb (All the Battles, tr. Robin Moger); award-winning translator Thoraya El Rayyes (co-winner of 2014 University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award for her translation of The Perception of Meaning); novelist and commentator Ruqaya Izzidien (The Watermelon Boys, forthcoming Hoopoe Fiction)..
The prize organisers announced those in the running for the new prize with the African bolded and they are;
- Maya Abu-Alhayyat’s Kharandia, translated by Riham Adly.
- Muhammad Abdelnabi’s Our Story, translated by Robin Moger.
- Rasha Abbas’s How to Swim the Backstroke with a Shilka Missile, translated by Fatima El-Kalay
- Raja Alem’s The Boa, translated by Rana Ghuloom.
Judge Thoraya El Rayyes said, “Robin Moger’s translation of Mohammed Abdel Nabi’s Our Story captures the mood and rhythms of the original in elegant, fluent prose. The translator succeeds wonderfully at reproducing the distinctive narrative voice of the story with inspired, inventive phrasing.”
Muhammad Abdelnabi, born in 1977, has published five short story collections, a novella titled Imprisoned Phantoms (2000) and two novels: The Return of the Sheikh (2011), which was longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2013, and In The Spider’s Room (2016), which was shortlisted for the IPAF and appears in Jonathan Wright’s English translation this fall. In 2010, his short story collection, The Ghost of Anton Chekhov, won the Sawiris Literature Prize, and his latest collection, As the Flood Passes the Sleeping Village, won the prize for best short story collection at the Cairo Book Fair 2015.
Each of the shortlisted writers get $50 while the winner gets an additional $200. Shortlisted stories will have the opportunity to be published on the ArabLit website as well as a future anthology. Winnings will be split between author and translator.
The prize winner will be announced later in the year.