Meet the Judges, Find Dates & Details for the 2023 ArabLit Story Prize

May 15, 2023 — Submissions to the 2023 ArabLit Story Prize are open today. They close on July 15, 2023 at midnight in the submitter’s timezone.

The ArabLit Story Prize is an annual, crowdfunded award for the best short story, in any genre, newly translated from Arabic into English. Except for works that have fallen into the public domain, translators must demonstrate permission to publish the work in English translation, and translations must have been previously unpublished.

Stories will be judged primarily on the quality of the translated work as a thing-in-itself, although translators must also submit the Arabic original, as this is a prize for translation, and not for loose adaptation nor for work written originally in English.

The prize is $500 to the winner, split between author and translator(s), as well as publication on

This year’s three judges are previous winner Shakir Mustafa, acclaimed author-translator Yasmine Zohdi, and beloved short-story writer Muhammad El-Hajj.

Shakir Mustafa is a previous winner of the ArabLit Story Prize and a professor of Arabic at Northeastern University. Dr. Mustafa grew up in Iraq and taught at Mosul University in Northern Iraq for eleven years. He then taught at Indiana University and Boston University from 1999 to 2008. His book, Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology (Syracuse, 2008; AUC 2009), was recognized by The Bloomsbury Review as “one of the most important books in 2008.” His other publications are in the areas of literary translation, Irish drama, and Jewish American fiction.

Yasmine Zohdi is an acclaimed writer, translator, and editor based in Cairo. She holds an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and is currently working on her first collection of short fiction.

Muhammad El-Hajj is a writer, translator, and digital content creator. His debut collection of short stories, Nobody Mourns the City’s Cats (2018), won the Sawiris Cultural Foundation’s Short Story Prize for emerging writers. El-Hajj is also an AFAC grantee for his “Two Stories on Panicking Masculinity.”

We expect to announce a shortlist on September 15, 2023 and a winner on October 15, 2023.


Submissions should be sent, via email, to, using the subject line “Story Prize 2023.”

Submissions must include 1) a cover letter in the body of the email, 2) the Arabic original, 3) the English translation, and 4) some form of permission from the author or publisher (a screenshot of a WhatsApp message, an email, a formal letter). These can be sent as separate attachments or a single attachment. We also require a separate cover letter with the names and bios. All files must be sent in .doc, .docx, or .odt document format; no PDFs, please.

The story in translation should be rendered as 4000 words or fewer in English. There is no minimum word count — a 10-word story could potentially win the prize.

This prize is judged blindly, so do not put either author’s or translator’s name on the attached works. If you put your name on the work, it may be disqualified. (Or, more likely, we will email and ask you to remove it.) Your name and the author’s name — and, ideally, a short bio for each — should be in the cover letter only.

Co-translations, self-translations, co-self-translations are all happily accepted.

Anyone who has questions about their submission can send a note to

There is no fee for submissions.