Majority of Spots in International Prize for Arabic Fiction’s 2017 Nadwa Go to Omani Authors

This year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) nadwa — the prize’s week-long writing workshop for emerging writers — is taking place for the first time in Oman, with a majority of Omani authors:

Photo courtesy International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

This year’s workshop is being co-led by Saudi novelist Mohammed Hasan Alwan, winner of this year’s IPAF, and Omani novelist¬†Jokha al-Harthi. Both Alwan and al-Harthi have participated in previous IPAF nadwas.

The nadwa has always had a large number of participants from GCC countries. Last year, for instance, there were only two writers invited to the nadwa who were not from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

But this is the first time the list of nadwa participants has been so dominated by writers from a single country. There are only three non-Omani writers: Egyptian Mohammed Abdel Qahar, Moroccan Mohsen Akhrif, and Tunisian Nabil Gueddiche.

This year’s nadwa will take place at the Atana Musandam resort, pictured. It concludes on November 27.

From the news release:

Mohammed Abdel Qahar (Egypt) is a writer and engineer born in Cairo, Egypt in 1988. He writes articles for a number of websites and has published two novels: The Book of the Palace: the Conqueror and the Dervish (2013) and Gharib (2016).

Mohsen Akhrif (Morocco) is a poet and writer born in Al Araish, Morocco, in 1979. He has a PhD in Literature. He is the author of four poetry collections: Hymns of Departure (2001), Two Losing Horses (2009, winner of the Moroccan Channel Two Prize) and Taming Unbridled Dreams (2012). He has also published a novel, Partner in Love (2013, winner of the Moroccan Writers’ Union Prize for the best novel by a young writer) and a short story collection, A Dream While Napping (2017, winner of the third prize of the Sharjah Prize for Arab Creativity in that year).

Nabil Gueddiche (Tunisian) is a novelist and journalist born in Tunis, in 1977. He has an MA in Communications and is the author of a short story collection Messing with Nietzsche (2014) and two novels: The Sunflower (2015) and Charlie (2016). He writes articles for Arabic newspapers and publications such as Al-Akhbar al-Lubnaniya, Al-Quds al-Arabi, Kikah, Al-Muthaqa and Al-Safir.He has received numerous honours in Tunisia for his writing, including the prestigious Golden Komar Prize for his novel Messing with Nietzsche, in the first time novelists category. His second novelCharlie was shortlisted for the best Tunisian novel of the year at the Tunis Book Fair, 2016.

Badriya Al-Badri (Oman) is a poet and novelist born in Muscat, Oman in 1975. She has two published novels: Behind Loss (2015) and The Last Crossing (2017). She has won several prizes in Oman and other Gulf countries for her poetry in standard Arabic and dialect, and for her novels, including first prize from the Omani Literary Forum for Behind Loss in 2013. In 2014, she won second prize in the Gulf-wide Rashid bin Hamid competition, for free verse in standard Arabic. Badriya Al-Badri writes for the Murshid magazine and works as an IT teacher.

Mohamed Al-Jazmi (Oman) is a writer and novelist born in Khasab, Oman, in 1979. He obtained a Diploma as a science laboratory technician and worked in laboratories for 17 years until the end of 2016. Most of his books are science fiction, fantasy and horror stories, but outside these genres his novel The Blood Returns to Where It Flows From (2012) deals with the Palestinian issue. He writes articles for various newspapers and has previously been editor-in-chief of online newspapers. Recently, he opened the first cultural library – “Home of the Arts” – in Khasab province, in the governorate of Musandam. The library organises cultural competitions and prizes.

Muna Al-Maouli (Oman) is a writer born in Muscat, Oman in 1981. She obtained a Diploma in Computer Programming from the Omani Institute for Vocational Training and works as an administrator in the Omani Journalists Association. She is currently in her third year studying Media at the Bayan Media College. Her novel Green of the Dung was published in 2016 and a book of prose texts entitled A Scattering of Sorrow in 2017.

Tawfiq Al-Shihi (Oman) is a writer and water engineer born in Khasab, Oman, in 1979. He obtained a BA in Engineering from Sultan Qaboos University in 2003 and is Director of Works in the provinces of Khasab and Bakha for the Omani Water and Electricity Commission. His first non-fiction book, If They Had Known (2011) focused mainly on the history of science from Newton to Witten. This was followed by a short horror story collection entitled He Sells Death (2013), then another non-fiction work about the origins of mankind, Legends of the Forefathers (2016), and his first novel Forgetting and Forgotten in 2017.

The longlist for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction is set to be announced in January.