“[O]ut of the six Arabic novels selected for the ‘Arabic Booker’ shortlist, five were published in Lebanon.”
International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)
“Half have some previous IPAF connection: There are two books by authors who’ve formerly participated in IPAF nadwas, or workshops (Mohamad Rabie and Shahla Ujayli) and one formerly shortlisted novelist (Raba’i al-Madhoun, for his ‘The Lady from Tel Aviv’).”
The announcement ceremony will be held at Muscat’s Cultural Club.
“If it were not for the failure of the January 2011 revolution, I wouldn’t have written the novel. All the ideas in the novel are built around its failure.”
“I think that the acts of confiscating Arab works, the repeated banning and confiscation of literary and intellectual works and the ongoing intimidation of Arab writers, as well as social censorship practiced by ordinary individuals on one another in Arab societies were the main inspiration.”
“Books submitted to the prize are accepted in good faith on the basis that they abide by the prize’s submission rules. Should it emerge that an entry does not meet these criteria, for whatever reason, it is the duty of the Board of Trustees to take action to ensure the Prize’s integrity.”
Yasir Suleiman, chair of the prize’s Board of Trustees, called the novels “technically mature and sometimes demanding.”
“The longlist will consist of up to 16 novels, chosen from the 159 entries we’re told came from 18 countries.”
“All five are aged under 45 and were identified by former IPAF as ‘ones to watch.'”
“Thirty-eight (24%) of the novels submitted for this year were by female writers and 49 (31%) of the authors were under 40, figures representing steady overall increases since the prize began.”
The IPAF-winning book, which was launched in London at the end of April, is set to come out in the US in September.
“The complexity of recent Tunisian history, and a minute sociological analysis can only be expressed in a novel. Only narration can make sense of the events.”