International Prize for Arabic Fiction

The longlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2021 has been announced today, March 1, 2020.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction is the most prestigious and important literary prize in the Arab world. Its aim is to reward excellence in contemporary Arabic creative writing and to encourage the readership of high-quality Arabic literature internationally through the translation and publication of winning and shortlisted novels in other major languages. 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), Mohammed Hasan Alwan (2017), Ibrahim Nasrallah (2018), and Hoda Barakat (2019).

The 2021 panel of judges is chaired by Lebanese poet and author Chawki Bazih. Judging alongside Bazih are Mohammed Ait Hanna, a Moroccan writer, translator and Professor of Philosophy at the Regional Centre for Teaching Careers and Training in Casablanca; Safa Jubran, a lecturer of Arabic Language and Modern Literature at the University of San Paolo in Brazil; Ali Al-Muqri, a Yemeni writer twice longlisted for IPAF in 2009 and 2011 respectively; and Ayesha Sultan, an Emirati author, journalist, founding director of Warrak Publishing House and Vice President of the Emirates Writers Union.

Those on the longlist are;

Author, Title, Country of origin, Publisher

  • Abdulatif Ould Abdullah, The Eye of Hammurabi, Algeria, Dar Mim
  • Abdullah Albsais, M for Murderer: S for Sa’id, Kuwait, Riwayat
  • Abdulla Al Ayaf, Hole to Heaven, Saudi Arabia, Dar al-Rashm
  • Jalal Bargas, Notebooks of the Bookshop Keeper, Jordan, The Arabic Institute for Research and Publishing
  • Abbas Baydoun, Boxes of Desire, Lebanon, Dar al-Ain
  • Mansoura Ez Eldin, The Orchards of Basra, Egypt, Dar al-Shorouk
  • Youssef Fadel The Life of Butterflies Morocco Al-Mutawassit
  • Amira Ghenim, Calamity of the Nobility, Tunisia, Dar Mesaa
  • Amara Lakhous, The Night Bird, Algeria, Manshurat al-Hibr
  • Dunya Mikhail, The Bird Tattoo, Iraq, Dar al-Rafidain
  • Sara al-Nams, J, Algeria, Dar al-Adab
  • Hamed al-Nazir, Two Green Eyes, Sudan, Dar Tanweer – Lebanon
  • Muhsin Al-Ramli, Daughter of the Tigris, Iraq, Dar al-Mada
  • Abdelmeguid Sabata, File 42, Morocco, Al-Markez al-Thaqafi al-Arabi
  • Habib Selmi, Longing for the Woman Next Door, Tunisia, Dar al-Adab
  • Ahmed Zein, Fruit for the Crows, Yemen, Al-Mutawassit

Chawki Bazih, Chair of the 2021 Judges, said: ‘This abundant harvest of writing is the natural fruit of an unholy alliance between the Covid 19 epidemic – which closed all the doors to writers except language – and the epidemic of Arab regimes, fortified by every kind of corruption and oppression. This explosion of creativity is reflected in this year’s submissions and longlist, whose authors have written the true history of forgotten and marginalized people and places, and given voice to the weak and dispossessed. These 16 outstanding books from across the Arab world encompass a variety of styles and themes, from documentary-like narrative, to letters and ingenious use of the crime thriller genre, all penetrating the social and psychological fabric of Arab society. They have boldly exposed the many tragic faces of Arab reality and held regimes responsible for human rights abuse, the stealing of freedoms, persecution of women and their encouragement of violence, fundamentalism and wars.’

The six shortlisted titles will be announced on March 29 and the winner revealed on May 25, 2021.