Submissions for the 2012 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) have closed. And so begins speculation as to who will be longlisted for the 2012 IPAF, popularly known as the “Arabic Booker.”
The longlist will likely be revealed in November.
In previous years, prize organizers have received more than a hundred submissions, and the 100+-strong list is never publicly aired. However, a number of publishers have chosen to float their nominations. A few that seemed interesting for one reason or another:
Ezzedine Choukri’s Embrace at the Brooklyn Bridge ( “غرفة العناية المركزة”). This is first of all interesting because, my goodness, another novel with Brooklyn in it? Then he’s head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture. And he was longlisted for the 2009 IPAF.
Mohamed Rabie’s Amber Planet (كوكب عنبر). From Yousef Rakha, writing about Rabie’s book: “Kawkab ‘Anbar is the story of the eponymous, little known library (named after its original owner’s wife), a public endowment in Abbassiya on the verge of being demolished to make way for a new underground Metro line. It is told by Shahir, the endowments official who is sent there on a month-long assignment to put together a report on the library – a perfunctory, routine procedure intended to facilitate the forgone conclusion of its demolition by establishing that, all things considered, there is no reason for it to remain standing.”
Khaled al-Berry’s New Testament (“العهد الجديد”). Khaled was shortlisted for this year’s IPAF for his Middle Eastern Dance.
Al-Berry said, of his newest novel:
روايتي الجديدة هي عن العلم والحب والحكمة في مواجهة الإستبداد. وتحكي أحداث الأيام الأخيرة في الصراع بين القوى المسيطرة وبين الناس في منطقتين معزولتين جغرافيا ولكنهما لصيقتان فكرا، الجميع يعتقد أنه يفعل ما يفعل سعيا لتحقيق النبوءة وخلق العهد الجديد. بالطبع ثورة 25 يناير أثرت في الرواية جدا، أعطتني صراعا حيا أمام عيني ومنحتني كثيرا من الأمل أثناء الكتابة، لذلك خرجت الرواية متفائلة إلى حد.
Naim Sabry‘s The Old Singer (المغني القديم«). Sabry is a poet and novelist with a number of books to his name.
Eslam Mosbah’s Emos (إيموز). Mosbah previously won the Nabil Farouk award for Science Fiction. Both Mekkawi Said and Alaa al-Aswany have praised the novel, although Said’s praise seemed a bit tepid.
Mustafa al-Husseini’s 2025: Last Call (2025 النداء الأخير). In 2025, a group of desperate young Egyptian men form an armed movement to overthrow the (Gamal) Mubarak regime.
Mamdouh Abdel Sattar’s The Man from Al-Dljmoon: Dead Leaves (الدلجموني.. أوراق ميت). Abdel Sattar has won several short-story awards.
Al Masry Al Youm: Two Egyptian Novels Nominated for Arabic Booker Prize