Organizers have announced that the winner of the 2020 International Prize for Arabic Fiction is set to be announced online on Tuesday, April 14.
This comes as the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair -- set to take place from April 15-21 -- has been postponed to the end of May as a "precautionary measure to protect public health."
"There was also a problem about the terrorist operations and bombings that took place in Baghdad. I know a lot about all this, but I had to watch a lot of videos on the internet, which caused me great sorrow and depression."
Judging chair Muhsin al-Musawi noted that most could be labeled historical fiction, "but they do not merely retell this history or current reality. Rather, they confront it in all its harshness to inspire in the reader questions about the destiny of the Arabic individual.”
"A few days ago, I attended the Kuwait Book Fair, and saw that all Arab countries were there, represented by more than one publisher, except Algeria, and this is because of backward laws."
Much as in old photo albums, we the undersigned—the Ayoub A.L. family—gradually appear either standing together, or behind one another, or in front, or a little further off. We thought it better to let our mother Makiah sit on a chair, as she can’t stand for long, even if it’s for a photo. Beside her is Auntie Fatihiya, and then the younger auntie, Saneea. Our grandmother Bebe Fatim has no place among us; she stayed upstairs.
Truly, dreams are full of wonders.
"When the war began in Sarajevo I was a child. I was in southern Algeria then. We sang songs in school about the children of Sarajevo, and we saw pictures of what was happening there on TV."
"So, to make up for lost time, I took out the doors and I painted them on the balcony. To make sure they would dry, I left them there and went to sleep, until I was awakened by my four-year-old son who was in a panic and was screaming that all the doors had disappeared. It is the horror I saw in his eyes and in the eyes of my wife that the idea of writing about a city with no doors grew in my mind."
"Here, everyone I meet greets me. Good morning. Sir. Welcome. At your service. Everyone here is polite to the point of disgust."
The novel was inspired, in part, by a 2018 workshop organized by me and Cherifa Kheddar, Director of the NGO Djazairouna, where we brought together survivors of the Algerian Civil war with writers, artists, psychologists, filmmakers and journalists. The objective was to translate first-hand testimonies into different media, including literature.
In his statement Yasir Suleiman, chair of the Board of Trustees, noted that the longlist was dominated by North African writers, with four books by Algerians, one by a Moroccan writer, one from Tunisia, one from Libya, and two from Egypt. No publisher, this year, had more than two books on the longlist.