International Prize for Arabic Fiction

The longlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2023 was announced on January 24, 2023.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction is the most prestigious 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), Hoda Barakat (2019), and Mohamed Alnaas (2022).

The jury for 2023 chaired by Moroccan writer and novelist, Mohammed Achaari includes Egyptian academic and novelist Reem Bassiouney, Algerian novelist, researcher and journalist Fadhila El Farouk, Swedish university professor and translator Tetz Rooke, and Omani writer and academic Aziza al-Ta’I.

The longlist from the 124 submissions is;

Author, Title , Publisher 

  • Ahmad Abdulatif (Egypt), The Ages of Daniel in the City of Threads, Dar al-Ain 
  • Fatima Abdulhamid (Saudi Arabia), The Highest Part of the Horizon, Masciliana – UAE 
  • Al-Sadiq Haj Ahmed (Algeria), Drought, Dar Dwaya 
  • Zahran Alqasmi (Oman), The Exile of the Water Diviner, Rashm 
  • Najwa Binshatwan (Libya), Concerto Qurina Eduardo, Takween – Iraq 
  • Lina Huyan Elhassan (Syria), Ruler of the Two Fortresses, Dar al-Adab 
  • Ahmed El-Fakharany (Egypt), Bar Lialina, Dar al-Shorouk 
  • Mohammed Harradi (Morocco), The Melody of the Rabbit Al-Mutawassit 
  • Sausan Jamil Hasan (Syria), My Name is Zayzafoune, Al-Rabie Publications 
  • Aisha Ibrahim (Libya), The Box of Sand, Al-Mutawassit 
  • Nasser Iraq (Egypt), The Antikkhana, Dar al-Shorouk 
  • Azhar Jerjis (Iraq), The Stone of Happiness, Dar Al-Rafidain – Lebanon 
  • Rabia Raihane (Morocco), The Family House, Dar al-Ain 
  • Miral al-Tahawy (Egypt), Days of the Shining Sun, Dar al-Ain 
  • Qassem Tawfik (Jordan), One Night is Enough, Alaan 
  • May Telmissany (Egypt), They All Say I Love You, Dar al-Shorouk

Mohammed Achaari, Chair of the 2023 judges, said: The novels on this year’s longlist are marked by the large number of female Arab writers and a striking diversity in both subject matter and narrative style. Whilst a preoccupation with current, newsworthy issues of the Arab world – in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt and other countries – permeates a significant number of the books, others turn to the roots of these events in history, the state, society and culture. Several themes dominate the texts, including exile, childhood, the family, freedoms, and the relationships between regime and society. A number of longlisted novels deal with cultural heritage and legends, drawing on ancient sources to create worlds which express something of our real or imagined lives. Common themes aside, the authors’ writing styles are incredibly varied, ranging from journalistic research to a prevalence of folk tales and colloquialisms, some leaning towards the satirical and others deeply reflective and poetic in tone.

The shortlist will be announced on March 1, 2023.