The International Prize for Arabic Fiction – or, as it's popularly known, the "Arabic Booker" – has attracted a wealth of controversy in its first four years. A number of prominent authors have refused to let their books be nominated for the prize, which has been accused of, among other things, being too closely allied with governmental powers, discriminating against women and rewarding novels that cater to western interests.
Organizers have announced the winners of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF, or "Arabic Booker"). This year judges have hedged their bets, as it's not one novel, but two: The Arch and the Butterfly, by Moroccan author Mohammed Achaari, and The Doves' Necklace, by Saudi author Raja Alem.
Again this year, excerpts from the six novels shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF, or “Arabic Booker) were published and sent to subscribers of The National (in English) and al-Ittihad (in Arabic).
Mohammad Achaari, while known primarily as a poet, also writes fiction and administers culture. He was born in 1951 in Moulay Driss Zerhoun, Morocco.