Announcing: Judges, Submission Dates for the 2022 ArabLit Story Prize

The 2022 ArabLit Story Prize will open to submissions on March 31, 2022. This year, we have three distinguished judges who are jointly short-story authors, publishers, editors, and translators.

This crowdfunded short-story prize named its first winner in 2018: Muhammad Abdelnabi’s “Our Story,” translated by Robin Moger. The prize has also gone to author Najwa Binshatwan and translator Sawad Hussain (2019), author-translator team Hadiya Hussein and Shakir Mustafa (2020), and author Mustafa Taj Aldeen Almosa and co-translators Maisaa Tanjour & Alice Holttum.

The shortlisted stories and winner of the 2022 prize are available in the Spring 2022 MIRRORS issue of ArabLit Quarterly. Potential submitters who would like to see previous shortlistees, but can’t afford the magazine, should email info@arablit.org.

This year, three judges will name a shortlist of three to five stories on September 15 and a winner on October 15.

The judges:

Dena Afrasiabi is a writer and editor at University of Texas at Austin, where she oversees “Emerging Voices from the Middle East” and “Modern Middle East Literatures in Translation,” two award-winning translated book series distributed by University of Texas Press. Her fiction has appeared in such publications as Michigan Quarterly Review and Monkeybicycle, among others, and has received fellowship support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.  

Yasmeen Hanoosh is a fiction writer, literary translator, and professor at Portland State University, where she directs the Arabic program and teaches courses in Arabic language and literature. She grew up in Iraq and received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan in 2008. As a fiction writer, she has published a short story collection, Ardh al-Khayrat al-Mal’unah (The Land of Cursed Riches, Al-Ahali Press, 2021). Her second collection, Atfal al-Jannah al-Mankubah (Children of Afflicted Paradise) has been translated and excerpted in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and Italian. As a translator, her English translations of Arabic fiction have appeared in various literary journals and publications. Her translation of Closing His Eyes (Abbas) received an NEA translation fellowship in 2010, and her translation of Scattered Crumbs (al-Ramli) won the Arkansas Arabic Translation Prize in 2002. As a scholar, she studies the cultural politics and literary expressions in post-2003 Iraq, especially what concerns the country’s ethno-religious minorities. She is the author of the monograph, The Chaldeans: Politics and Identity in Iraq and the American Diaspora (Bloomsbury, 2019).

Perween Richards is a literary translator from Arabic. She attended the Translate at City summer school in London in 2016, and was one of the two winners of the school’s annual translation competition, sponsored by Comma Press. She was awarded an English PEN Translates grant to translate The Sea Cloak, which was shortlisted for a Palestine Book Award and was listed as one of Books and Bao’s “10 Best Translated Books of 2019.”

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Submissions will be taken through Submittable. Stories are judged jointly on the quality of the original and the translation. Judges’ decisions are independent, but they are asked to look for wit, emotional resonance, originality, and style.

Submission materials must include: 1) Cover letter with the name of author, translator, story, and length. 2) The story in translation, rendered as 4000 words or fewer in English, attached as a Word document, without the name of the author or translator. Stories are judged blindly. 3) The story in the original Arabic, preferably in the same Word document or PDF. 4) Some evidence you have the rights to translate and publish this story, such as an email from the author or a scanned note. If the story is in the public domain, please note this.

The winner and translator(s) will split the $500 prize equally, except in the case where the author is deceased and the story is in the public domain.

Submissions are set to open on March 31, 2022 and close on July 21, 2022.

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