International Prize for Arabic Fiction Shortlist Countdown: Reading ‘The Bearer of the Purple Rose’

This year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) shortlist will be announced later this morning. Until then, ArabLit and 7iber look at one last longlisted novel, Antoine Douaihy’s The Bearer of the Purple Rose, a novel that looks at the nature of freedom.

imagesAntoine Douaihy, brother of previously shortlisted novelist Jabbour Douaihy, is a Lebanese novelist, poet, and anthropologist, born in 1948. He did his doctorate in anthropology atThe Sorbonne and remained in France until the mid-nineties. He currently works as Professor in Cultural and Social Anthropology at The Lebanese University. His novels include: The Book of the Current State (1993), The Garden of Dawn (1999), Hierarchies of Absence (2000),Royal Solitude (2001), Crossing Over Rubble (2003) andThe Bearer of the Purple Rose (2013).

The Bearer of the Purple Rose tells the story of a writer’s arrest and imprisonment in a 700-year old Mamluk fortress built to guard the coast. “The arrest of the writer, back from a long exile in the West, is a conundrum for all his friends, who see him as a quiet, peace-loving man. He is imprisoned in a bare cell, possessing only two high windows, impossible to reach, and a picture of the tyrant, who stares at him day and night.”

Mayyasi interviews Douaihy, who says ‘The Writer’s Language is the Language of Self, Or It Is Nothing’

Mayyasi also reviews the book: ‘The Bearer of the Purple Rose’: A Novel of Tyranny and Solitude

Previously featured novels:

Amir Tag Elsir’s ‘366

Ashraf al-Khamaisi’s God’s Land of Exile

Ibrahim Abdelmeguid’s ‘Clouds Over Alexandria’

Inaam Kachachi’s ‘Tashari’

Ahmed Saadawi’s ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’

Khaled Khalifa’s ‘No Knives in the Kitchens of This City’

Abdel Khaliq Al Rikabi’s ‘The Sad Night of Ali Baba’