Novelist Sinan Antoon and translator Leyla Mansour have won the 2017 Prix de la Littérature Arabe for the French translation of Antoon’s وحدها شجرة الرمان , which was released in English as The Corpse Washer:
The jury, chaired by Pierre Leroy, selected “by a large majority” Antoon’s novel, which the jury called “a shattering novel…written in a gripping and poetic style, with both accuracy and sensitivity.”
The prize comes with a €10,000 monetary award.
The jury also awarded two special mentions to Moroccan novelist Yasmine Chami for her novel Mourir est un enchantement and to author Khaled Khalifa and translator Rania Samara for No Knives in the Kitchens of This City. Both authors will receive a €4,000 prize.
The whole eight-book shortlist:
La Fille de Souslov (translated to English by Elisabeth Jaquette, as Suslov’s Daughter), by Habib Abdulrab Sarori (Actes Sud). Translator: Hana Jaber.
Seul le grenadier (translated to English by the author as The Corpse Washer), by Sinan Antoon (Actes Sud). Translator: Leyla Mansour.
Mourir est un enchantement, by Yasmine Chami (Actes Sud)
Un oiseau bleu et rare vole avec moi, (translated to the English as A Rare Blue Bird Flies With Me, by Jonathan Smolin), by Youssef Fadel (Actes Sud). Translator: Philippe Vigreux.
Cinquante grammes de paradis, (translated to the English as The Weight of Paradise, by Michelle Hartman), by Iman Humaydan (Vertical). Translator: Hana Jaber.
Pas de couteaux dans les cuisines de cette ville, (translated to the English as No Knives in the Kitchens of this City, by Leri Price), by Khaled Khalifa (Actes Sud). Translator: Rania Samara.
Une femme sans écriture, by Saber Mansouri (Seuil);
L’effacement, by Samir Toumi (Barzakh).
The award, launched in 2013 by the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation and the Arab World Institute, is the sole French award dedicated to recognizing Arab and Arabic literary creations. It is awarded annually to a writer “who is a national of an Arab League country” and who has published a book, the previous year, written in or translated into French. Last year, the award went to Inaam Kachachi for her Tashaari. The inaugural prize in 2014 went to Jabbour Douaihy for his St. George Looked Away.
This year’s award ceremony is set to take place on October 18, 2017 at 7 pm at the Arab World Institute.