This past week, the graphic novel “مدينة مجاورة الأرض,” or “A City Neighboring Earth“, by Jorj Abu Mhayya, took the 2012 International Comics Book Festival of Algeria (FIBDA) book award for a work in Arabic. Meanwhile, the pioneering Egyptian magazine TokTok won first prize in the “independent magazine” category. (Apology for yesterday at bottom.)

The FIBDA, a hotspot of Arab comic production and celebration, ran from October 4-14 this year. It was the fifth session and attracted artists of international stature.

“A City Neighboring Earth” publisher Dar Onboz posted on Facebook yesterday:

Back to Beirut from Algeria with this special award given to Jorj by a highly esteemed jury of experts and professionals. All unanimously confirmed that “madina moujawira lil ard” is a demarcation point in the history of comics, not just in the Arab world, but world wide as well! Thank you all for your continuous encouragement and support! Thank you Jorj for this beautiful book! Dar Onboz is eagerly waiting to publish volume 2!

Volume 1 was published late last year, and follows Farid Tawil, who comes home from work one day to discover his family house is no longer here and that the city he has always lived in is no longer the same. The book’s illustrations, according to a review in Al Akhbar, are stunningly dense and rich. (Read the review.)

You can also watch the book trailer:

There seems to be a rising interest in translating Arab graphic works into English, from Mazen Kerbaj’s work on Words Without Borders to Lamia Ziade’s Bye Bye Beirut (Interlink Graphics), to the translation of Magdy al-Shafee’s Metro (Metropolitan Books), to the forthcoming translation of Walid Taher’s Bit of Air (University of Texas Press).

All the FIBDA awards:

Meilleur Album en langue arabe : Ville avoisinant la terre, Jorj Abou Mhayya (Dar Onboz/Liban)

Meilleur Album en langue étrangère : La Grippe coloniale 2, Appollo & Serge Huo-Chao-Si (Vents d’Ouest)

Meilleur Scénario : Golo, Mes mille et une nuits du Caire, (Futuropolis)

Meilleur Dessin : Hector Sonon, Toubab or not Toubab, (Rivages/Casterman/Noir)

Meilleur Projet : A contre-pied, Bensâada Illies & Benali Mohammed El Amine

Mention Spéciale du jury : L’Algérie pour les nuls, Samir Toudji (Algérie)

Encouragement : Une Vie volée, Japhet Miagotar (Cameroun)

Meilleur Fanzine ou magazine BD : Tok Tok mag (Egypte)

Mention du jury : pour le magazine Taïwan Comix

I do have to note that the founder of Dar Onboz (the book’s publisher) being on the prize jury is probably not best practices. But the book nonetheless looks wonderfully intriguing.

Also: Mazen Kerbaj sent out a note that he’s published a new comic (in addition to the WWB one), “Mon nuage,” and he promises it’s in “easy French.”

Note: My apologies for yesterday posting something that was meant for my Arabic children’s lit blog. This is why I can’t manage two blogs.