Jerusalem-based ArabLit Quarterly contributor Ameer Hamad has won the Qattan Foundation’s 2019 Young Writer of the Year award in the short-story category, and shares the prize with Taghreed Abdel Al in the poetry category. Mowafaq Abu Hamdiya took the novel category for حصرم مر (Sour Grapes):

Each winner takes a $4,000 prize.

Taghreed Abdel Al co-won the poetry prize for her collection العشب بين طريقين (The Grass Between Two Paths), which she shares with Ameer Hamad’s بحثت عن مفاتيحهم في الأقفال (I Searched for Their Keys in the Locks). Hamad also won the short-story category with his جيجي وأرنب علي (Gigi and Ali’s Rabbit). 

The poetry judges — Zakaria Mohammed, Qusai Al-Labadi, and Dalia Taha — considered 32 collections composed by young Palestinian writers from around the world. Several other collections were commended, including one by Kamel Muhammad Kamel Yassin, Alaa Mamoun Odeh, Hiba B’irat, and Ahmed Abu Awad.

The jury of the novel prize was made up of acclaimed writers Ahmed Al-Madini, Mansoura Ez Eldin, Alaa Hlehel, and Zakaria Mohammed. They looked at 27 different novels, and also commended novels by Fakhri Taha, Sarah Abu Ghazal, Hana Osama Salman Ahmed, Omnia Abu Swireh, and Mustafa Akram Mustafa Badr.

The short-story category, also judged by Ahmed Al-Madini, Mansoura Ez Eldin, and Alaa Hlehel, considered 26 collections and commended Ameer Hamad’s great promise. They also commended collections by Shorouk Muhammad Doghmash, Hiba B’irat, Alaa Mahmoud Odeh, and Amr Naim Al-Masry.

Eligible writers must be between 22 and 35, Palestinian, and writing in Arabic.

Read Ameer Hamad’s “Suad’s Eyes.”

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