Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Int'l Prize for Arabic Fiction announces 2023 longlist, judge

award $50,000

Tue 24 Jan 2023 | 02:23 PM
Prize for Arabic Fiction
Prize for Arabic Fiction
Mohamed mandour

Today, Tuesday 24 January 2022, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) has revealed the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2023 prize, which will award $50,000 to the ultimate winner.

Collectively the longlisted authors span the age range of 40 to 77 and hail from nine countries. The novels cover an extensive range of topics, including migration, exile and the refugee experience, and both fleeting and profound human relationships. Explorations of childhood are prevalent, with coming-of-age narratives revealing the ramifications of political unrest and conflict on the family and country from a child’s perspective. There are examples of satire and dark, dystopian themes, as well as magical realism and allegory, using folklore and oral traditions to make sense of current social or political issues. Many characters across the 16 titles show an impulse to record historic events, preserve cultural heritage or family stories from times past, and a preoccupation with the act of creation itself. The archive is a recurring trope, symbolising state surveillance and control of citizens' lives, and there are multiple examples of carefully constructed tension between the boundaries of fiction, history and biography.

The longlist has been chosen from a total of 124 submissions by a panel of five judges chaired by Moroccan writer and novelist, Mohammed Achaari. Joining him on the judging panel are Egyptian academic and novelist Reem Bassiouney, Algerian novelist, researcher and journalist Fadhila El Farouk, Swedish university professor and translator Tetz Rooke, and Omani writer and academic Aziza al-Ta’I.

Authors on the 2023 longlist who have been previously recognised by the International Prize for Arabic Fiction are: Ahmad Abdulatif (longlisted in 2018 for The Earthen Fortress); Najwa Binshatwan (shortlisted in 2017 for The Slave Yards); Lina Huyan Elhassan (shortlisted in 2015 for Diamonds and Women) who is also a former Nadwa participant; Aisha Ibrahim (longlisted in 2020 for The War of the Gazelle); Nasser Iraq (shortlisted in 2012 for The Unemployed); Azher Jerjis (longlisted in 2020 for Sleeping in the Cherry Field); and Miral al-Tahawy (shortlisted in 2011 for Brooklyn Heights).

Nine further authors are recognised by the prize for the first time: Fatima Abdulhamid, Al-Sadiq Haj Ahmed, Zahran Alqasmi, Ahmed El-Fakharany, Mohammed Harradi, Sausan Jamil Hasan, Rabia Raihane, Qassem Tawfik, and May Telmissany