Palestinian Sheikha Hussein Helawy Wins Almultaqa Prize for ‘Order C345’

Organizers of AlMultaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story yesterday announced the winner of the 2019 prize was the collection Order C345, by Palestinian writer Sheikha Hussein Helawy:

The Italy-based publishing house Al-Mutawassit captured the moment of the announcement:

Sheikha Hussein Helawy will receive US $20,000, while the writers on the shortlist are promised $5,000 each. The other four collections on the shortlist were Burning the Loaf, by Saudi writer Wafaa Al Harb; The Last Hour, by Tunisian writer Sufian Rajabi; Munch’s Scream, by Omani writer Mahmoud Al Rahbi; and The City Eats Itself, by Egyptian writer Sherif Saleh.

Helawy is a writer, poet, and educator who was born in an unrecognized village near Haifa in 1968; she studied both Arabic and Hebrew literature at Tel Aviv University. She has published one book of poetry and three collections of short stories, with work translated into German, Bulgarian, and English.

The 2019 jury was made up of Spanish translator-scholar Luis Miguel Pérez Cañada, who is the chair of judges; Egyptian academic Said Al-Wakil; Jordanian author Rami Abu Shehab; Moroccan critic Abdel Razzaq Al-Mesbahi; and Kuwaiti novelist Basima al-Enezi.

She is the prize’s fourth winner. The first three were: Mazen Maarouf’s Jokes for the Gunmenwhich made the 2019 Man Booker International longlist in Jonathan Wright’s translation; Shahla Ujayli’s Bed of the King’s Daughter; and Diaa Jubaili’s No Windmills in Basra. One of the stories from No Windmills appears in the Winter/Spring 2019 issue of ArabLit Quarterlyin Yasmeen Hanoosh’s translation.

Also read: “A Night Visit,” by Sheikha Hussein Helawy, tr. Jonathan Wright