ArabLit Story Prize 2019 winners

Najwa Bin Shatwan and Sawad Hussain have been announced as the winners of the ArabLit Story Prize 2019 for The Sharp Bend at Al-Bakur today October 15, 2019.

The ArabLit Story Prize, founded in 2018 by, celebrates the best short stories, in any genre, newly translated from Arabic into English. The first edition of the prize was won by Mohammad Abdelnabi for Our Story translated by Robin Moger.

The cycle for this year’s prize started when judges Nariman Youssef, Jana Elhassan, and Adam Talib were unveiled on March 1 followed by the shortlist on September 15.

This year’s judges decided to award the top prize to The Sharp Bend at Al-Bakur, written by Libyan author Najwa Bin Shatwan and translated by Sawad Hussain. The story comes from Bin Shatwan’s 2019 collection, An Ongoing Coincidence, published by Riad El-Rayyes Books.

Judge Adam Talib said, “Najwa Bin Shatwan is a master of the absurd and the story The Sharp Bend at al-Bakur demonstrates this well. The story manages to satirize feminine beauty ideals under patriarchy against the background of the disturbing conflict in Libya that began in 2011. The pacing of the story is perfect and hardly a word goes spare. How are we meant to understand the indiscriminate loss of life that proxy wars have brought to the region in the years since 2011? The story suggests that the innocent dead were sacrificed for the vanity of those in power and those who seek it.”

The winning story receives a $500 prize, split between author and translator. All four stories from the 2019 shortlist will appear in the fall 2019 issue of ArabLit Quarterly.

You can read the winning story and another judge’s citation at our friends at