Egyptian Novelist Nasser Iraq Wins Katara’s Top Prize for 2016

Qatar’s “Katara Prize” events — held October 10 – 12 — wrapped up yesterday with an announcement of its winners:

For the Katara prize, the shortlists and the top winners in three categories (published novel, manuscript, and research) are announced all in the same evening. This year, the overall published-novel prize went to Dubai-based Egyptian writer Nasser Iraq, for his Azbakeya (2015), a historical novel set in Egypt in Napoleon’s time.

Iraq was previously shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) in 2012, for his novel The Unemployed.

Iraq, after winning the top prize:

The overall manuscript prize, meanwhile, went to Ali Ahmed al-Rifai.

For this, Iraq will be awarded $300,000 US, while al-Rifai is promised $150,000 US. The prize also promises translation, and books by last year’s winners were reportedly available at this year’s conference. However, it’s not clear who did the translations or where else those translations might be available.

photosThose shortlisted in the “published novel” category:

Ibrahim Nasrallah, for Souls on Kilimanjaro

Elias Khoury, for The Children of the Ghetto. My Name is Adam.

Iman Humaydan, Fifty Grams of Paradise, translated into English, by Michelle Hartman as The Weight of Paradise. 

Yahia Yakhlif, for Wind Rider.

The “published novel” shortlistees were chosen from a pool of 234 submissions. Each shortlistee in this category took $60,000 US.

Shortlistees in the manuscript category — where there were more than 700 submissions — were Salma al-Nasser, Saad Mohamed Raheem, Mohamed al-Gharbi Omran, and Mostafa al-Hamdawi. Each of them was promised $30,000 US.

There were also prizes for research; these winners were to be given $15,000 US each.

It wasn’t immediately clear who the judges in each category were.

Last year’s “published novel” shortlist had novels by Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Abdelmeguid, Sudanese writer Amir Tag Elsir, Bahraini Mounira Sowar, Algerian novelist Waciny Laredj, and Iraqi writer Nassira Sa’doun. Thus far, there has not been overlap with the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, based in Abu Dhabi.

Italian writer Chiara Comito was in Doha for the awards ceremony; more can be found at her blog Editoriaraba.

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Categories: Katara Prize

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