‘Mahmoud Darwish Awards’ Go to Ghassan Zaqtan, Elias Khoury, and Alice Walker

The Mahmoud Darwish Awards were announced today in Jordan, on the anniversary of the poet’s birth, going to Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan, Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury, and US novelist Alice Walker:

133163Each winner was awarded $25,000.

Zaqtan, who was shortlisted for the US-based Neustadt and was co-winner of Canada’s 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize, along with his translator Fady Joudah, was cited for both his great knowledge of poetic tradition and modernism. A release noted that Zaqtan has been translated into a number of languages, including English, French, and Chinese.

Khoury was cited both for his large and diverse literary output and for his attention to Palestine, while Walker was also cited for both her novels (The Color Purple in particular) and her anti-racism activism.

The judges committee was led by Faisal Darraj, and other members included Egyptian writers Ibrahim Abdel Maguid, Sa’eed Kafrawi, and Amani Fuad; Jordanian writers Hisham Bustani, Basma al-Nsour, and Jamal Naji, Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaihy; Mahmoud’s brother Zaki Darwish; Palestinian writer Akram Musallam; and the Iraqi short-story writer Luay Hamza Abbas.

From the winners:

A number of Zaqtan’s poems are online in English translation: herehere, and here.

Listen to Khoury read from my favorite among his novels, As Though She Were Sleeping.

Walker’s official website is http://alicewalkersgarden.com/.