Tareq Bakari’s Numedia (“نوميديا”), already shortlisted for the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, yesterday won a Morocco Book Award:
Numedia is narrated by a Frenchwoman, Julia, but tells the life story of an orphaned Moroccan boy named Murad. According to IPAF organizers:
Murad is cursed by the people of his village. Ostracised, insulted and beaten, he turns to love in an attempt to take revenge on fate: first with Khoula, who becomes pregnant; then Nidal, his classmate and fellow comrade in resistance; then Julia, seen as the French coloniser, and with his final love Numedia, the mute Berber. The rich story of Numedia unfolds against the backdrop of the real-life historical, political and religious landscape of Morocco.
Tareq Bakari was born in Missour, eastern Morocco, in 1988.
The Morocco Book Award gives awards in six categories, including literature, translation, and poetry. Winners were selected from among 175 submissions, 36 of which were in the literature category, 37 in poetry, and 35 in translation.
The poetry award went to Abdel Karim al-Tabbal for his collection Nimnimat (“نمنمات”).
According to Hespress, there was controversy last year over the independence and transparency of the judging committee. This year, the chair of the judging committe, Mohammed Noureddine Afaya, detailed the work the judging committee had done and said that the books were examined from a “scientific” perspective more than any other. All the winners were male.