This year, journalists (and the public) had a chance to question several of the IPAF judges---including chair Fadhil al-Azzawi---at an afternoon press conference in Doha.
Two young Egyptians, a prominent Saudi, a Sudanese writer living in Qatar (where he works as a physician) and both the current Moroccan Minister of Culture and a former holder of the post are on this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction shortlist.
Amir Taj Al-Sir (sometimes Amir Tagelsir or Amir Tag Elsir) is a Sudanese writer who currently lives and works in Doha, Qatar. He has published two biographies and one collection of poetry; this is his tenth novel.
As predicted, this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction ("Arabic Booker") longlist has more women than in previous years. This year's longlist is nearly 50-50, with 7 women and 9 men.