Not that I was usually punctual, but because the traffic was unexpectedly light along the corniche, flowing so smoothly a passenger in the microbus kept saying, “What’s up?”—unconvinced by any of the answers of the other passengers, commenting on them: “For sure, it’s something else,” without adding a different answer.
“Good bye, then. You can’t understand my argument. I’m tired of what I have seen and heard from men.”
All the longlisted stories will appear in the anthology “ID: New Short Fiction from Africa,” scheduled for release in July 2018.
The story is interesting for several reasons. It shows this Arabic cultural journal (marketed outside the US as much as within it) taking an interest in the American issues of the day – Prohibition had been brought in at the beginning of 1920. It is also an early example of modern Arabic speculative fiction. Most of all, it is a fun little story and glimpse into Jacob Raphael’s 1920s Arabic publishing venture.
“I’m from southern Iraq, after all, so I toyed with making it a truck-sized black water buffalo—but then the thing would look like a promo video for the Mesopotamian Marshes and their native buffalo population, which have just made it onto the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.”
The shortlist includes collections by Syrian authors Shahla Ujayli and Tamim Henidi.
“In an Arabic cultural scene that’s full of novels about political and societal issues, Maarouf gives us a chance to breathe and taste something different[.]”
“You cross the bridge suspended over the canal. Colored ships slowly glide across the surface of blue waters below. Now and then, from beyond the hills of fine sand, a date palm emerges, a village, some people. Fish dart across the lake and a swarthy, dusty child poses for the camera, stick in hand.”
“There were 239 submissions from twenty countries, with the lion’s share coming from Egypt (90), followed by Iraq (20), Jordan (19), Morocco (19), Syria (13), Algeria (11), Saudi (11), Palestine (11), Yemen (9), Sudan (8), Tunisia (8), Bahrain (5), Oman (3), Qatar (3), Lebanon (3), Kuwait (2), Libya (1), Chad (1), Belgium (1), and the UK (1).”
″A man of principles was forced to swallow an insult. He choked and died. As for the bootlicker, he chased after the insult with all his might, fearing that he would die of hunger.″
The fat policeman entered the tomb, walked a few bewildered moments, then shouted with a stretched voice: “Omar Khayyám!”
As a translated story, the prize money will be split 70/30, with £7,000 going to the author and £3,000 to the translator.