Earlier this month, the international jury of the Euro-Mediterranean literary contest “A Sea of Words” announced their winners at a ceremony in Barcelona. Judges chose three stories from young entrants across 44 Mediterranean nations, and the winner was “Reasons and Names” by Syrian writer Nour Hariri:
Hariri, who was born in Aleppo in 1989, writes about an unnamed and forgotten female character, murdered — or perhaps dead of suicide — in an unnamed village. Hariri currently lives in Lebanon.
Second and third prize were awarded to Tunisian writer Souha Bakhta, for “And Then the Almond Tree Smiled”) and Italian writer Valeria Mingolla, for “Chicca is Running.”
The ninth edition of the “Sea of Words” accepted stories that somehow addressed violence against women; unsurprisingly, then, the top three prizes all went to women. Indeed, nearly all the fifteen finalists were women.
Stories had to be from writers aged 18-30, by an author of Mediterranean origins, and under 2,500 words.
Hariri talks about her prize-winning story: