Maqbul Moussa Al-Alawi is one of the more lesser-known writers on the Arabic Booker longlist. His biography is by far the shortest. About him, the IPAF organizers write that Al-Alawi “is a Saudi writer, whose stories and articles have been published in local newspapers. This is his first novel.”
How local are these newspapers? Apparently, pretty local.
According to Saudi novelist Tahir Ahmed Zahrani, writing on GoodReads, Al-Alawi is from a remote village, where there are no libraries or cultural events or literary clubs. Al-Alawi received books via a website or from his grandmother, and created this novel largely in literary seclusion.
Zahrani—who gave the novel five stars—said the book was well-done, technically mature, professionally superior.
According to IPAF organizers, Turmoil in Jeddah is:
Set towards the end of 19th century, Turmoil in Jeddah is a story of Ottoman nationalism played out in the Arabian Gulf. When an Arab naval captain pulls down the British flag on his ship and raises the Ottoman flag in its place, he provokes outrage from the British Consul, the ship’s protector, and events spiral out of control, culminating in bloodshed and a popular uprising against the British.
Reviews, descriptions, & buy it:
Al-Jazirah: Q&A with the author about the book (Arabic)
GoodReads descriptions and reviews (Arabic)
Neelwafurat : Buy it.
Previously profiled: Egyptian Miral al-Tahawy, longlisted for her Brooklyn Heights, Bensalam Himmich, for My Tormentor, Fawaz Haddad, for God’s Soldiers, Khairy Shalaby, for Istasia, Raja Alem for The Doves’ Necklace, Renee Hayek for A Short Life, Waciny Laredj for The Andalucian House, Maha Hassan for Secret Rope, and Mohammad Achaari for The Arch and the Butterfly.
See the full longlist here.