International Prize for Arabic Fiction Announces 16 Titles on 2022 Longlist

JANUARY 26, 2022 — Following a false start on Monday, January 24 — when International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) social media had originally promised the longlist — the 2022 IPAF longlist and judges were announced today. The longlist was chosen from amongst 122 entries.

The longlisted titles were written by authors from nine countries, with three titles each by Egyptian and Syrian authors. Only two former IPAF laureates are featured on the longlist: Ezzedine Choukri Fishere and Haji Jaber.

This year marks the first time that a previous winner of the prize — Shukri Mabkhout, who won the 2015 IPAF for his novel The Italian — is chairing the judging panel.

According to a news release, the year’s novels “cover an extensive range of topics, from the struggle for artists to survive while facing war and state persecution, to the relationship between East and West, freedom, motherhood and gender roles,” adding that two of the novels recount the untold stories of women “who lived in the shadow of famous Western writers.”

Mabkhout is joined on the judging panel by Libyan doctor and poet Ashur Etwebi, Lebanese writer  Iman Humaydan, Kuwaiti poet and critic Saadiah Mufarreh, and Bulgarian academic and translator Baian Rayhanova.

One author previously shortlisted for the ArabLit Story Prize, Egyptian author Belal Fadl, is on this year’s longlist, as is Egyptian author Tareq Imam, whose work has appeared in both the STRANGE and DREAMS issues of ArabLit Quarterly.

The full 2022 longlist, listed in alphabetical order by author surname, as presented by prize organizers:

AuthorTitleCountry of originPublisher
Nizar AghriIn Search of AzarSyriaAl Kotob Khan
Boumediene BelkebirThe Alley of the ItaliansAlgeriaAl-Ikhtilef
Yaa’rab al-EissaThe White MinaretSyriaAl-Mutawassit
Belal FadlMimi’s MotherEgyptDar al-Mada
Ezzedine Choukri FishereFarah’s StoryEgyptDar al-Shorouk
Tareq ImamCairo MaquetteEgyptAl-Mutawassit
Haji JaberThe Abyssinian RimbaudEritreaTakween – Kuwait
Reem al-KamaliRose’s DiaryUAEDar al-Adab
Bushra KhalfanDilshadOmanTakween – Iraq
Mohsine LoukiliThe Prisoner of the PortugueseMoroccoDar Mim
Khaled NasrallahThe White Line of NightKuwaitDar Al Saqi
Mohammed al-Nu’asBread on the Table of Uncle MiladLibyaRashm
Rouchdi RedouaneThe HungarianAlgeriaDar al-Ain
Mona al-ShammariThe Maids of the ShrineKuwaitDar Al Saqi
Dima al-ShukrWhere Is My Name?SyriaDar al-Adab
Mohamed TawfikThe Whisper of the ScorpionEgyptDar al-Ain

Shukri Mabkhout, Chair of the 2022 Judges, said in a prepared release: “Submissions for the Prize this year were of high quality, proving once again that the revival and development of the Arabic novel make it the best literary genre to give expression to the concerns of Arab peoples today, in their different local environments.”

A few of the authors have work available or forthcoming in English translation: Ezzedine Choukri Fishere’s Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge was translated by John Peate; Haji Jaber’s Black Foam is forthcoming from AmazonCrossing in translation by Sawad Hussain and M Lynx Qualey; Bushra Khalfan’s first novel, The Garden, is forthcoming in Luke Leafgren’s translation; and several stories by Belal Fadl and Tareq Imam are available in translation.

Meanwhile, Yasir Suleiman, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The novels on the longlist for this, the fifteenth prize cycle, continue to explore a range of themes that deal with fracture and the unresolved questions that have bedevilled the relationship of Arab society and culture with its various strands and with the external Other. Voices from the margins of society are made to speak and question in different registers of exclusion and resistance that articulate the feeling of alienation, bewilderment and, at the margins, some nascent hope. Despite their considerable local achievements on the Arab literary scene, authors on this list are poised to be celebrated by a broad pan-Arab readership at home and in the diaspora.”   

The six shortlisted titles will be chosen by the judges from the longlist and announced in March 2022, and the winner is set to be announced in May 2022. Each of the six shortlisted finalists receives $10,000, with a further $50,000 going to the winner. 

Stories by Belal Fadl:

“Into the Tunnel,” translated by Nariman Youssef

“As Per Job Description,” translated by Mahmoud Younes

Stories by Tareq Imam:

“Through Sightless Eyes,translated by Katherine Van de Vate

Interview with Tareq Imam:

‘The Writer Has Become Everyone’s Target’

Interview with Ezzedine Choukri Fishere

‘Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge’ and Crafting 9/11 Supporters That Aren’t Caricatures

Interview with Haji Jaber:

On Writing the Stories of the Falasha Jews

Fiction by Haji Jaber:

‘Tapes 3 & 4’: An Excerpt from ‘The Spindle Game’