The winner of the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction is set to be announced today, at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi that will start streaming live online at 8:10 p.m. GST / 5:10 p.m. BST:
The 2019 shortlist features books of “family, memory, and disappointment” from acclaimed and award-winning authors from six different countries; 2019 also marks the first year the prize has seen more women writers on the six-book shortlist than men.
As we wrote previously here at ArabLit:
All six books on this year’s shortlist are by established novelists, and most of the authors are internationally known: Lebanese novelist Hoda Barakat was previously a finalist for the Man Booker International and has received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite National; Egyptian author Adel Esmat won the 2016 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for his Tales of Yusuf Tadros; Iraqi writer Inaam Kachachi was winner of the 2016 Prix de la Littérature Arabe; Shahla Ujayli was on the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction shortlist and won the 2017 Almultaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story. Mohammed Al-Maazuz is a previous winner of the Moroccan Book Prize, and at least two of Kafa Al-Zou’bi‘s previous novels have appeared in Russian; her fourth novel, Go Back Home, Khalil (2009), was published only in Russian.
The highlight of the awards evening is always the six short documentary films by Kheridine Mabrouk, and International Prize for Arabic Fiction organizers have already started to share them at @Arabic_Fiction.
Egyptian author Adel Esmat, for instance, says in his video that: “One of the crucial components of The Commandments is tackling the modernization of the family concept. The novel is a witness of time at work, affecting and influencing circumstances leading to this transformation. This includes events such as the economic crisis in 1933, the rise of Egypt in the 1950s and 1960s, and the beginning of its decline in the 1970s, which finally led to the disintegration of ‘family’ into smaller nuclear families in the early 1980s. I wanted to examine this intensified effect of time as it passes.”
Iraqi novelist Inaam Kachachi, a favorite for the prize, said that she wanted to write about those “normal” people who witnessed political events yet “carried on with their work and their lives.”
Those interested in the live Facebook stream will be able to find it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/728191897578396/