Two Syrian Writers Make 2017 Al Multaqa Prize Shortlist

Soon after the Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature announced their 2017 winners, the major prize of the Arabic short story — the Kuwait-based Al-Multaqa Prize — announced their five-book shortlist for 2017:

The $20,000 prize is a joint effort of the American University of Kuwait and the “Cultural Circle,” a local literary discussion group headed up by Kuwaiti writer Taleb Alrefai. Its inaugural prize went, last December, to Mazen Maarouf’s Jokes for the Gunmen, forthcoming in English translation by Jonathan Wright.

The shortlist features collections by acclaimed Iraqi writer Luay Hamza Abbas, author of Closing His Eyes; Syrian author Shahla Ujayli, previously shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction; Omani writer Mahmoud al-Rahbi; Syrian author Tamim Henidi; and prolific Palestinian short-story writer Mahmoud Rimawi, who lives in Amman, Jordan.

The shortlist:

Palestinian Mahmoud Rimawi for “ضيف على العالم” (Guest of the World)

Syrian writer Shahla Ujayli for  “سرير بنت الملك” (Bed of the King’s Daughter)

Syrian author Tamim Henidi for “ليثيوم” (Lithium)

Iraqi writer Luay Hamza Abbas for “قرب شجرة عالية ” (Near the Tall Tree)

Omani writer Mahmoud al-Rahbi for “لم يكن ضحكاً فحسب” (Not Just for a Laugh)

The winner is set to be announced in December. In addition to the $20,000, there is also a fund to support translation of the winning collection into English, and $5,000 for each of the shortlisted authors.

Stories in translation:

Luay Hamza Abbas, “The Man Who Was Killed,” tr. Yasmeen Hanoosh, from the book, Near the Tall Tree, shortlisted for this year’s award.
Mahmoud al-Rahabi, “The Passing Carts“, tr. Katharine Halls

Two Stories by Luay Hamza Abbas,  tr. Yasmeen Hanoosh

Luay Hamza Abbas’s Merrymaking,  tr. Yasmeen Hanoosh

Mahmoud al-Rimawi’s “The Train,” tr. Wen-Chin Ouyang