This Year, Women Dominate the Golden Comar, Tunisia’s Top Literary Prize

According to Tunisian poet and blogger Ali Znaidi, the 20th annual Golden Comar Prize was awarded on April 30, 2016 at the Municipal Theatre of Tunis:

Women, women, women. Photo via Ali Znaidi.
Women, women, women. Photo via Ali Znaidi.

The prize hands out two top awards: to an Arabic novel and a French one. It has, in the past, gone to Shukri al-Mabkhout’s The Italian, which went on to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. This year, al-Mabkhout was a judge.

This year, both of the top prizes were awarded jointly, and three of the four winners were women. According to Znaidi:

The Arabic version of the prize was awarded jointly to Emna Rmili for her novel (Toujane) Toujane and Nabiha Aïssa for her novel (Maraya Al-Ghieb) Mirrors of Absence.

The French version of the prize was awarded jointly to Fawzi Melah for his novel (Ya Khil Salem) Oh, Salem’s Horses! and Fawzia Zouari for her novel (Le Corps de ma Mère) My Mother’s Body.

The rest of the prizes were also female-dominated, with the Arabic special Jury Prize “awarded jointly to Mouldi Dhaou for his novel (Siratou Al-Maatouh) The Idiot’s Biography and Chedia Guesmi (or Kasmi) (Al-Massab) The Dumping Ground” and the Discovery Prize to Hanene Jenane for her novel Catharsis.

The French Jury Prize went to Mohamed Harmel for Les rêves perdus de Leyla or Leyla’s Aborted Dreams, and the French Discovery Prize went to Wafa Ghorbel for her novel The Black Jasmine.

Znaidi reported that more than 40 Arabic novels and 20 in French were competing for the prizes.

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