The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) has revealed the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2016 prize. Those selected were chosen from 159 entries from 18 countries, all published within the last 12 months. The highest number of 2016 longlisted authors came from Egypt and Palestine.
Two of this year’s longlisted authors have been shortlisted for the prize previously: Rabai al-Madhoun and Mohamed Mansi Qandil both appeared on the IPAF shortlist in 2010, with al-Madhoun’s book, 'The Lady from Tel Aviv', now available in English translation from Telegram Books. Taleb Alrefai was also Chair of Judges for IPAF that year.
The list includes a number of younger writers and debut novelists. Three longlisted writers are under the age of 40, and first novels by Tareq Bakari and Abdennour Mezzine have been included. In addition, two of the longlisted authors – Mohamed Rabie and Shahla Ujayli – have previously participated in IPAF’s annual nadwa, or writers’ workshop, for emerging writers with promise. Ujayli worked on a section of her longlisted book, 'A Sky Close to Our House', during the 2014 nadwa.
The full 2016 longlist:
'Here' by Taleb Alrefai, Kuwait, Platinum Books
'Hymns of Temptation' by Laila al-Atrash, Palestine/Jordan, Difaf Publications
'Numedia' by Tareq Bakari, Morocco, Dar al-Adab
'The Temple of Silken Fingers' by Ibrahim Farghali, Egypt, Al-Ikhtilef
'People of the Palms' by Janan Jasim Halawi, Iraq, Saqi Books
'Mariam's Journey' by Mahmoud Hasan al-Jasim, Syria, Dar Tanweer, Egypt
'Desertified Waters' by Hazim Kamaledin, Iraq, Fadaat
'Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba' by Rabai al-Madhoun, Palestine, Maktabat Kul Shee
'Letters of the Storm' by Abdennour Mezzine, Morocco, Slaiki Akhawayn Publications
'Warsaw a Little While Ago' by Ahmed Muhsin, Lebanon, Hachette Antoine
'The Prophecy of Saqqa' by Hamed al-Nazir, Sudan, Dar Tanweer, Tunis
'The Black Brigade' by Mohamed Mansi Qandil, Egypt, Dar al-Shorouq
'Mercury' by Mohamed Rabie, Egypt, Dar Tanweer, Lebanon
'Praise for the Women of the Family' by Mahmoud Shukair, Palestine, Hachette Antoine
'A Sky Close to Our House' by Shahla Ujayli, Syria, Difaf Publications
'The Guard of the Dead' by George Yaraq, Lebanon, Difaf Publications
The books were selected by a panel of five judges, whose names will be announced in Muscat, Oman, on Tuesday 9 February 2016, at the same time as the 2016 shortlist of six titles.
This is the ninth year of the Prize, which is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction in the Arab world. The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2016 will be announced at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 26 April 2016, the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The six shortlisted finalists will receive $10,000, with a further $50,000 going to the winner.
The International Prize for Arabic Fiction is an annual literary prize for prose fiction in Arabic. It is run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London and funded by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) in the UAE.