English translations of two of the shortlisted books are already forthcoming: Shahad al-Rawi’s The Baghdad Clock is set to appear this summer from OneWorld, in Luke Leafgren’s translation, while Dima Wannous’s The Frightened Ones is forthcoming from Harvill Secker, in Elisabeth Jaquette’s translation, in 2019.
International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)
The central theme of “K.” is much stronger than most literature coming from the Gulf.
Is there ‘Too Much Balance’ in the International Prize for Arabic Fiction? Where Authors Are from, Year by Year
CORRECTION: The 2008 longlist is not on the International Prize for Arabic Fiction website (English, Arabic) and was, I’m told, sent to journalists after the shortlist was released in 2008.
However, a journalist-novelist has now sent along a copy of the 2008 longlist.
“Today, the headlines of the parallel dimension from which I write are overflowing with the news that IPAF has longlisted Djamila Morani’s gripping novella ‘Tuffa7 al-djinn’ (‘The Djinn’s Apple’).”
“At least one of the novels, Shahad al-Rawi’s ‘Baghdad Clock,’ has already been translated into English, by Luke Leafgren. It’s set for an April release from OneWorld.”
“Only one book by a Yemeni author was submitted this year, and none of the submitted titles were written by authors from Bahrain, Djibouti, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Qatar, or the UAE.”
This year’s participating writers, according to IPAF organizers, range in age from 26 to 40 and come from six different countries: Oman, Sudan, UAE, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine.
“There are only three non-Omani writers: Egyptian Mohammed Abdel Qahar, Moroccan Mohsen Akhrif, and Tunisian Nabil Gueddiche.”
“Thirty of this year’s submissions — about a quarter — were books by women, which is roughly similar to past years.”
“There is a great appetite for Sufi-themed novels in Arabic. Where will it lead?”
“I think about knives. If I find one in here, maybe that’ll help me escape somehow, either by breaking the lock or using it to slowly bore into the wall to create an escape route like I’ve seen in a number of movies.”
“But irony and sarcasm are dangerous devices. And I have a fleeting sense that my fondness of irony will one day cause my demise.”