That’s the headline from the UAE-based Khaleej Times, and it’s certainly the headline for me, too. I know almost nothing about Saudi literature, except that there have been a number of “behind the veil, under the covers” novels of late from anonymous Saudi women.
Of course, these are not those. The three Saudis are Abdo Khal for She Throws Sparks, Abdullah bin Bakheet for Street of Affections and Umaima Al Khamis for The Leafy Tree.
Note to self: Must read more Saudi literature.
The short list (of six) will be announced Dec. 15 at the Beirut Book Fair.
The $50,000 prize’s two previous winners have both been Egyptians: Bahaa Taher for his Sunset Oasis, which is now available in English (my review will appear in the December Quarterly Conversation) and Youssef Ziedan for Azazeel.
There were reportedly 115 eligible submissions from 17 Arab countries.
The others on the longlist:
The Lebanese Hassan Daoud for 180 Sunsets, Rabee Jabir for America, and Alawiya Sobh for It’s Called Love
Egyptians Mohammed Al Mansi Qindeel for A Cloudy Day on the West Side and Mansoura Ez Eldin for Beyond P aradise
Iraqis Muhsin Al Ramly for Fingers Pass and Ali Bader for Kings of the Sands
Jordanians Mahmoud Al-Rimawy for Who Will Cheer up the Lady and Jamal Naji for When the Wolves Grow Old
Palestinians Sahar Khalifeh for Origin and Branch and Raba’i Madhoun for The Lady from Tel Aviv
Algerian Samir Qasimi for A Great Day to Die, and
Syrian Rosa Yaseen Hassan for The Guards of the Air.