The six shortlisted authors for the 'Arabic Booker', the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2012, have been announced
Novels by Jabbour Douaihy, Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, Rabee Jaber, Nasser Iraq, Bashir Mufti and Habib Selmi have been shortlisted out of 101 submissions from 15 countries across the Arab world.
This year’s prize is likely to attract increased attention in light of the recent struggles in the Arab world. Syrian writer and critic Georges Tarabichi, the 2012 chair of judges (pictured), said: “[the prize] takes place in exceptional circumstances, with many Arab uprisings against despotic regimes which have been entrenched in most regions of the Arab world for long decades”.
Since the first prize was awarded five years ago, the award has become a leading cultural event and is respected for its commitment to Arabic independence, integrity and freedom of speech. As an English translation of the winning novel is guaranteed for the winner, the prize also aims to bring contemporary Arab voices to an international audience, which is especially important during these times of immense change in the Arab world.
With themes ranging from exile and questions of personal identity to social and political upheaval, much of the fiction submitted “paints a picture of the stifling conditions prevalent before the explosion of uprisings” said Tarabichi. “In these novels the authors’ show an innovative use of new styles to describe the social and historical variety of the Arab world, as well as giving premonitions of the current peoples’ movements, displayed by the concentration on corruption and tyranny formerly prevalent in the Arab world.”
The winner of the prize will be announced in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 27 March 2012.
The Vagrant by Jabbour Douaihy
Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge by Ezzedine Choukri Fishere
The Druze of Belgrade by Rabee Jaber
The Unemployed by Nasser Iraq
Toy of Fire by Bashir Mufti
The Women of al-Basatin by Habib Selmi