International Prize for Arabic Fiction Releases 16-book Longlist of ‘Demanding’ Novels

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction’s 2016 longlist — which features 16 novels written by authors from nine countries — was released this morning:

2016IPAFTwo previously shortlisted novelists are on the 2016 list: Palestinian writer Rabai al-Madhoun and Egyptian Mohamed Mansi Qandil, both of whom appeared on the IPAF’s 2010 shortlist.

The prize, popularly known as the “Arabic Booker,” won’t reveal the list of five judges until the shortlist is made public on February 9 in Muscat, Oman. But in this morning’s news release, the still-anonymous judging chair praised the 16 books, which she or he said deal “with their subjects in fresh and unconventional ways…using experimental language.”

Yasir Suleiman, chair of the prize’s Board of Trustees, called the novels “technically mature and sometimes demanding.”

Two writers made the list with a debut novel. Both were Moroccans: Tareq Bakari (with Numedia) and Abdennour Mezzine (with Letters of the Storm). The release boasts that three longlisted writers are under the age of 40, although it doesn’t mention that just two of the 16 longlisted writers are women.

An excerpt of Mohamed Rabie’s longlisted Otared, or Mercury, is already available in translation by Robin Moger.

The full list:

Title Author Country of origin Publisher
Here Taleb Alrefai (@talrefai1) Kuwait Platinum Books
Hymns of Temptation Laila al-Atrash (@AlAtrashLaila) Palestine/Jordan Difaf Publications
Numedia Tareq Bakari Morocco Dar al-Adab
The Temple of Silken Fingers Ibrahim Farghali (@IbrahimFarghali) Egypt Al-Ikhtilef


People of the Palms Janan Jasim Halawi Iraq Saqi Books
Mariam’s Journey Mahmoud Hasan al-Jasim Syria Dar Tanweer, Egypt
Desertified Waters Hazim Kamaledin (@hazim_kamaledin) Iraq Fadaat
Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba Rabai al-Madhoun (@rmadhoun). Read sbout his previously shortlisted novel, The Lady of Tel Aviv. Palestine Maktabat Kul Shee


Letters of the Storm Abdennour Mezzine Morocco Slaiki Akhawayn Publications
Warsaw a Little While Ago Ahmed Muhsin Lebanon Hachette Antoine
The Prophecy of Saqqa Hamed al-Nazir Sudan Dar Tanweer, Tunis
The Black Brigade Mohamed Mansi Qandil Egypt Dar al-Shorouq
Mercury Mohamed Rabie (@MohRabie78) Egypt Dar Tanweer, Lebanon
Praise for the Women of the Family Mahmoud Shukair Palestine Hachette Antoine
A Sky Close to Our House Shahla Ujayli (@ShahlaUjayli) Syria Difaf Publications
The Guard of the Dead George Yaraq Lebanon Difaf Publications