Six emerging authors won support to attend the International Prize for Arabic Fiction’s (IPAF) ninth Abu Dhabi nadwa, which now has a new funding body:
Starting December 11 — and coming on the heels of the IPAF nadwa in Oman — a group of six emerging Arab authors gathered in Abu Dhabi to take part in the annual UAE nadwa. The week-long workshop and retreat is now being supported by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF). The workshop is taking place in an “Arabian Nights Village” in the Abu Dhabi desert.
The workshop is being led by 2017 IPAF winner Mohammed Hasan Alwan, who also led the Omani retreat, and Egyptian novelist Sahar Elmougy, who was on the 2017 judging panel and who has led writing workshops in Cairo.
This year’s participating writers, according to IPAF organizers, range in age from 26 to 40 and come from six different countries: Oman, Sudan, UAE, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine.
The six participants:
Mohanned al-Dabi (Sudan) is a writer born in Al-Qadarif, Sudan, in 1985. He has worked as an editor and manager of the cultural supplement of the Sudanese “Al-Tayyar” newspaper. His short story, Shadow, won the 2014 Al-Tayib Saleh International Award for Creative Writing, in the short story category. He has two published novels: Enchanters of the River Bank (2014) and The Violence of the Meteors (2016), and a short story collection, Shadow (2016), as well as a forthcoming novel, The Forgotten Jew, and another short story collection, What Happened Behind the Wall, both to be released at the Riyadh Book Fair in March 2018.
Ashraf Fagih (Saudi Arabia) is a writer born in 1977. He obtained a PhD in Computing from Queen’s University in Canada and is an assistant Professor at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals. He began writing fiction early and published a science fiction short story collection (The Ghost Hunter) in 1997, aged twenty. He continued writing science fiction until he switched to historical fantasy. His novel The Impaler is in this genre and explores the Eastern origins of the legend of Dracula. He is currently writing a historical novel about the military campaign of the Ottoman ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, in the Arabian Peninsula.
Huda Hamed (Oman) is a writer born in Rustaq, Oman, in 1981. She obtained a BA in Arabic Literature from Aleppo University, Syria, and worked as a journalist in the cultural section of the “Oman” newspaper before beginning her current job as editor of “Nazwa” cultural magazine. She has published three short story collections and three novels: Things Are Not Where They Should Be (2009), winner of the Sharjah Award for Arab Creativity and Best Omani Publication of 2009; She Who Counts the Stairs, one of six novels written during Najwa Barakat’s 2014 writers’ workshop and published by Dar al-Adab; and Cinderella of Muscat (2016). Huda Hamed has written some episodes of “Day and Day”, the first Omani cartoon series. She was Editor-in-Chief of “More Than Life”, the first Omani online magazine reviewing books.
Hawra al-Nadawi (Iraq) is a writer born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1984. She grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, studied Linguistics and spent eight years in London before moving to Dubai, where she now lives. She writes short stories and articles. Her first novel Under the Copenhagen Sky (2010) reached the longlist of the 2012 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Her second novel Qismat was published in 2017.
Mariam Nasser (UAE) is a writer born in Al-Ain, the United Arab Emirates, in 1980. She is a regular contributor to the “Emirates Culture” magazine as well as to various Gulf and Arab publications. She has two published short story collections: Amina (2009), which has been translated into German and Urdu, and After the Tale of the Jin (2013).
Mutaz Quteineh (Palestine) is a Palestinian writer with Jordanian nationality, born in Jerusalem in 1980. He lived most of his life in Saudi Arabia before moving to the UAE five years ago, where he works in online technology and services and journalism. He did not finish his Law degree, but has recently started an MBA at Edinburgh Napier University. Since 2001, he has published four poetry collections and one prose work. For the last two years he has been working on another prose work as well as a poetry collection due to be released at the beginning of 2018.
The longlist for the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction is set to be announced in January 2018, the shortlist in February 2018 and the winner in April 2018.