Winner of 2022 ArabLit Story Prize ‘Captures the Essence of What a Short Story Should Be’

We are delighted to announce that the winners of the 2022 ArabLit Story Prize are Belal Fadi and James Scanlan, for Scanlan’s translation of Fadl’s “The Kid Sheikh” (!الشيخ العَيِّل).

This marks the second time Fadl’s work has been recognized by the prize; he was previously shortlisted in 2020 for his hilarious “As Per Job Description,” as translated by Mahmoud Younes. 

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This year’s three judges decided, after reviewing the stories on 2022’s four-strong shortlist, to award the top prize to “The Kid Sheikh,” with the judges remarking on its humor and punch to the gut. As judge Perween Richards noted:

‘The Kid Sheikh’ is a funny, swift take on the power of the truth in a world where even miracles must be sacrificed in order to stay safe. The translator captured perfectly the style of the original, a balance of long sentences flowing beautifully revealing the internal struggle of the characters, and the punch in the gut anger expressed in dialogue.  I thought the story captured the essence of what a short story ought to be perfectly; nothing overdone and everything in the right place.

This year’s other two judges were short-story writer and translator Yasmeen Hanoosh, and author-publisher Dena Afrasiabi.

The prize, now in its fifth year, is collectively funded by ArabLit’s Patreon supporters. The $500 prize is split between author and translator.

Belal Fadl is an Egyptian journalist and screenwriter, born in Cairo in 1974. He has written scripts for a number of films and TV series, such as the series “People of Cairo” which won a prize for best Arab TV series, in 2010. Recently, he worked on dialogue for the British series “The Crown.” He has published twenty books, including four short story collections and Um Mimi (2020), his first novel, an excerpt of which has been translated and published on ArabLit.

James Scanlan is an an Arabic-to-English translator from the UK based in Egypt. You can watch him read from an excerpt of his translation of Muhamad A Jamal’s Flying in a video produced for the Bila Hudood festival in 2021.

Previous winners of the ArabLit Story Prize are: Robin Moger translating Muhammad Abdelnabi (2018), Sawad Hussain translating Najwa Bin Shatwan (2019), Shakir Mustafa translating Hadiya Hussain (2020), and Maisaa Tanjour & Alice Holttum translating Mustafa Taj Aldeen Almosa (2021).

Read it now:

The 2022 ArabLit Story Prize Winner: ‘The Kid Sheikh’

3 Comments

  1. A competent translation of a very interesting story! Thanks for providing context and background! Such refreshing collaborative work! Thanks, Marcia, for providing a platform for meaningful literary dialogues.



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