ArabLit Had a Headline-writing Contest. You Won’t Believe What Sort of Entries We Got.

Well, okay, you might.

contest-630x350The contest, which sought an Upworthy-esque headline — but about Arabic literature — was judged by satiric writer and architect Karl Sharro (@karlremarks), novelist Noura Noman, (@NouraNoman), writer-journalist Olivia Snaije (@oliviasnaije), social-media specialist Fatemeh Fakhraie (@fatemehf), and comedian Jacquetta Szathmari (@jacquetta).

The co-winners are UK-based Carole Richmond, with:

Poets are good with words in confined spaces so Al-Ajami thanks the Emir of Qatar for his generosity on granting him 15 years solitary confinement and is looking forward to producing his best work.

And Jordan-based Thorayya al-Rayyes*, with:

This Sci-Fi Bestseller Was Banned In Saudi Arabia. The Reason Why Will Change How You Promote Virtue & Prevent Vice Forever.

Honorable mentions

Andrew Leber, for his:

This director tried to bring Emile Habibi’s “Saeed the Pessoptomist” to the big screen. What follows is a bittersweet tragicomedy of factual fiction, of heroic cowardice and cruel kindness. Listen closely for the deafening silence at 2:35.

Matthew Lundin, for:

This divorcé found out his city was shaped like a sultan’s seal. What the shape of your town says about the hidden mysteries of the universe may surprise you!

And to Zora O’Neill, for:

Someone told Abu Nuwas the only good poetry took place in the desert. His response will have you cheering from your barstool.

*Thorayya is, yes, a friend of mine. However, I was not involved in the judging process. Still, if you want to get your lawyer(s) involved….


  1. Thank you very much. Firstly, I would like to thank the panel of judges for their impeccable taste. I would also like to thank Alexa the snowstorm for trapping me inside the house for three days, thus engendering the kind of cabin fever that leads you to make jokes about Wahhabism. *Insert tears of joy here*

    I’ll take the Corpse Washer and the anthology of Gulf poetry, please 🙂

    Oh yes, also- Zora’s entry is awesome.

    1. Oh dear, wasn’t expecting to have co-winners and to have them both request the same Gulf poetry antho. Maybe the publisher will send another…hmm…

        1. Okee dokee, email me your mailing address, ma’am.

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