21 Winners: 2019 Katara Prize for the Arabic Novel

Twenty-one winners for the 2019 Katara Prize for the Arabic Novel — with works in five different categories — were announced the evening of Tuesday, October 15:

According to The Peninsula Qatar, organizers this year received more than 1,800 submissions in the prize’s different categories, “an increase of 30 percent over the fourth edition, which received 1,283 entries.”

Prizes are given in five categories: novels, unpublished fiction, Qatari fiction, Young Adult, and literary research and criticism. Of the submissions, 612 were novels; 999 were unpublished novels, 77 were literary studies, 147 were YA, and 15 were Qatari novels.

According to organizers, women submitted 442 entries and men 1408.

There were five winners selected in each category except for the “Qatari novel” category, where only one was announced: Dr. Ahmed Abdul Malik for Mehoud and the (Female) Djinn.

The five winning novels were: the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)-longlisted Black Foam, by Eritrean novelist Haji Jaber; the 2019 IPAF-longlisted Me and Haimby Algerian novelist Habib Sayah; Yemeni novelist Habib Abdulrab Sarori’s Revelation; Palestinian-Jordanian writer Laila al-Atrash’s A Woman Unlike Herself, and Jordanian novelist Majdi Daibes الوزر المالح.

In previous years, an overall winner was announced, as with inaugural winner Waciny Laredj’s The Butterfly Kingdom, which was given an additional $200,000 prize. That does not seem to have been the case this year.

The five winners of the “novel” category reportedly receive $60,000 each, the manuscript category $30,000 each, the studies $15,000 each, the YA novels $10,000 each, and the Qatari novel a further $60,000.

Most of the winning novels are also translated, by a translation service, into a number of languages, including English, and published in Qatar. It’s unclear if they are distributed outside Qatar.


Black Foam

Opinion: ‘Finally, Haji Jaber’s on an IPAF Longlist’

An Excerpt from Haji Jaber’s ‘Black Foam’, tr. Nancy Roberts

Q&A: Eritrean Novelist Haji Jaber: On Writing the Stories of the Falasha Jews

Me and Haim

Habib al-Sayah: Cracking ‘the Shell of the Taboo Around Talking about Algerian Jews’

‘Me and Haim’: an Algerian Odyssey Through Racism

Habib Abdulrab Sarori:

Suslov’s Daughter, tr. Elisabeth Jaquette

Laila al-Atrash:

A Woman of Five Seasonstr. Christopher Tingley and N. Halwani