I found out about the new Jan Michalski Prize for Literature via The Literary Saloon. On the prize’s website, organizers note:
An original feature of the Prize is its multicultural nature. It is open to authors from the world over and is intended to contribute to their international recognition. …. The winner will receive an amount of (Swiss) CHF 50,000, offering the possibility of greater dedication to her or his art.
Fifty thousand Swiss francs—that’s 243,570.99 Egyptian pounds, or for Al-Mohaimeed, 161,232.47 Saudi Riyals. It’s not small change, that’s for sure. The inaugural jury is made up of distinguished writers and academics, including the great Somali author Nuruddin Farah.
I’m not quite following the prize’s rules, as Wolves of the Crescent Moon—the Arabic-language representative on the shortlist—is neither new to Arabic nor to English. (Perhaps it’s new to French?) Still, bully for author Youssef Al-Mohaimeed, whose latest book, Munira’s Bottle, became available in English this spring from AUC Press.
- Read my one-minute review of Wolves of the Crescent Moon and snapshots of other reviews.
- Also, see the rest of the prize’s longlist.