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.
Next Tuesday, prize organizers are set to announce not only the 16-book longlist, but also the panel of five judges who selected the novels.
"She told herself to get up, make her way to the emergency alarm, and pull its red tongue. She would hear the screeching of the wheels as they scraped against the railroad tracks, spewing sparks."
The announcement was made by 2019 judging chair Charafdin Majdolin at the Tuesday night event in Abu Dhabi, although it had been leaked by former IPAF judge Abdo Wazen hours before.
The winner of the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction is set to be announced today, at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi that will start streaming live online at 8:10 p.m. GST / 5:10 p.m. BST.
"As for Syria, I enjoy the books of Nihad Sirees, Faisal Khartash, Khalil Sweileh, Khaled Khalifa, and Maha Hassan."