Qarmout, Al-Rawi Up for Edinburgh ‘First Book’ Award

Two debut translations from Arabic to English are up for the  Edinburgh “First Book” award, which “celebrates the wealth of new fiction featured in the Edinburgh International Book Festival programme each year:

The award is fan-selected, and, according to organizers, “Everyone who casts a vote is entered into a prize draw to win all the titles in the award.”

There are two titles translated from Arabic on the 49-book longlist: Shahad al-Rawi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted The Baghdad Clocktranslated by Luke Leafgren, and Nayrouz Qarmout’s PEN Translates!-winning debut short-story collection, The Sea Cloak, translated by Perween Richards.

The First Book Award is now in its eighth year, and previous winners include Ece Temelkuran for Women Who Blow on Knots and YA author Kathryn Evans for More of Me.

Among the Arabophone authors appearing at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival is Iraqi novelist Ahmed Saadawi, who will be discussing his novel Frankenstein in Baghdad.

Watch: Actress Grazyna Monvid reads ‘The Sea Cloak’, a short story by Gazan author Nayrouz Qarmout, translated by Charis Bredin.