International Prize for Arabic Fiction Announces 2023 Longlist, Showcasing ‘An Impulse to Record Historic Events’
JANUARY 24, 2023 — Organizers today announced the sixteen-book longlist for the 2023 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), chosen from a total of 124 submissions.
Seven writers on the list have been recognized by the prize in past editions: Ahmad Abdulatif, Najwa Binshatwan, Lina Huyan Alhassan, Aisha Ibrahim, Nasser Iraq, Azher Jirjis, and Miral al-Tahawy. A further nine writers made the IPAF list for the first time. Organizers also remarked on the number of women authors longlisted for this year’s prize — eight — the most women novelists ever to appear on an IPAF longlist.
A prepared statement promised a longlist with “examples of satire and dark, dystopian themes, as well as magical realism and allegory, using folkore and oral traditions to make sense of current social and political issues,” adding that, “Many characters across the 16 titles show an impulse to record historic events, preserve cultural heritage or family stories from times past, and a preoccupation with the act of creation itself.”
The full 2023 longlist:
|Author||Title||Country of origin||Publisher|
|Ahmad Abdulatif||The Ages of Daniel in the City of Threads||Egypt||Dar al-Ain|
|Fatima Abdulhamid||The Highest Part of the Horizon||Saudi Arabia||Masciliana – UAE|
|Al-Sadiq Haj Ahmed||Drought||Algeria||Dar Dwaya|
|Zahran Alqasmi||The Exile of the Water Diviner||Oman||Rashm|
|Najwa Binshatwan||Concerto Qurina Eduardo||Libya||Takween – Iraq|
|Lina Huyan Elhassan||Ruler of the Two Fortresses||Syria||Dar al-Adab|
|Ahmed El-Fakharany||Bar Lialina||Egypt||Dar al-Shorouk|
|Mohammed Harradi||The Melody of the Rabbit||Morocco||Al-Mutawassit|
|Sausan Jamil Hasan||My Name is Zayzafoune||Syria||Al-Rabie Publications|
|Aisha Ibrahim||The Box of Sand||Libya||Al-Mutawassit|
|Nasser Iraq||The Antikkhana||Egypt||Dar al-Shorouk|
|Azhar Jerjis||The Stone of Happiness||Iraq||Dar Al-Rafidain – Lebanon|
|Rabia Raihane||The Family House||Morocco||Dar al-Ain|
|Miral al-Tahawy||Days of the Shining Sun||Egypt||Dar al-Ain|
|Qassem Tawfik||One Night is Enough||Jordan||Alaan|
|May Telmissany||They All Say I Love You||Egypt||Dar al-Shorouk|
Mohammed Achaari was named as the chair of the 2023 panel of judges. He said of the longlist:
Several themes dominate the texts, including exile, childhood, the family, freedoms, and the relationships between regime and society. A number of longlisted novels deal with cultural heritage and legends, drawing on ancient sources to create worlds which express something of our real or imagined lives. Common themes aside, the authors’ writing styles are incredibly varied, ranging from journalistic research to a prevalence of folk tales and colloquialisms, some leaning towards the satirical and others deeply reflective and poetic in tone.
Achaari was joined by four other judges: Egyptian novelist Reem Bassiouney, Algerian novelist Fadhila El Farouk, Swedish translator Tetz Rooke, and Omani writer Aziza al-Ta’l.
For his part, Chair of the Board of Trustees Yasir Suleiman remarked on the increased participation of women novelists, and also, “the pleasing appearance of diaspora writers, enhancing a trend that has gathered pace over the years.”
The six shortlisted titles are set to be announced on March 1, 2023, at an event at the National Library of Kuwait.