International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)

From ‘One Room is Not Enough’: New Emirati Fiction

“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.”

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IPAF Judge Sophia Vasalou on the 2017 Panel’s Criteria, Advice to Future Judges, and ‘Obligatory Sex Scenes’

“Reading a single good novel at a leisurely pace can be a pleasurable experience, but your work as judge involves consuming a non-optional slew of novels of dubious quality at breakneck speed, so it’s a very different experience altogether. But it is also stimulating, intense, and enriching, as you realise particularly when the curtain of the experience begins to fall.”

Friday Finds: Work by the Six Authors Shortlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction

“When my mother asked me to spend the summer in her brothers’ house in the south, I employed every sophistry of my sixteen years—an age when only a mother pays attention to your budding philosophy of life—to explain to her that life forces surge northward, that the south, from which she and my father came, was becoming obsolete, that Ibn Khaldun (who had inspired this claim) was a great man, that the money could be better spent on a vacation, and that her brothers were actually not that nice.”