International Prize for Arabic Fiction short list

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International Prize for Arabic Fiction announces 2014 shortlist

Youssef Fadel, Inaam Kachachi, Khaled Khalifa, Abdelrahim Lahbibi, Ahmed Mourad and Ahmed Saadawi are today, Monday 10 February, announced as the six authors shortlisted for the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Their names were revealed at a press conference at the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation in Amman, Jordan, by a judging panel chaired by Saudi Arabian academic and critic, Saad A. Albazei.

This year’s six novels are wide-ranging in both subject matter and style. They include: a prison novel from Morocco; a story about one family’s dispersal around the globe, from 1950s Iraq to the modern day; a police hunt for an Iraqi Frankenstein terrorising Baghdad; one man’s search for knowledge as he travels around North Africa and the Middle East; the grim reality of one family’s struggle to survive in present day Aleppo and a psychological thriller played out in a psychiatric hospital in Cairo.

There are two Iraqi novelists and Moroccans on the shortlist, and one author apiece from Syria and Egypt.

Two formerly shortlisted novelists, Inaam Kachachi (The American Granddaughter, 2009) and Khaled Khalifa (In Praise of Hatred, 2008), appear on the list, as does a former nadwa participant, Ahmed Saadawi.

The previously anonymous 2014 judges are: Saad A. Albazei (Chair); Ahmed Alfaitouri, Libyan journalist, novelist and playwright; Zhor Gourram, Moroccan academic, critic and novelist; Abdullah Ibrahim, Iraqi academic and critic and Mehmet Hakki Suçin, Turkish academic specialising in the teaching of Arabic language and the translation of Arabic literature into Turkish.

The six shortlisted titles were chosen from a longlist of 16, announced in January 2014. The novels were selected from 156 entries from 18 countries, all published within the last 12 months.

The shortlisted novels are, in alphabetical order:





A Rare Blue
Bird that Flies with Me

Youssef Fadel


    Dar al-Adab




    Dar al-Jadid


No Knives in
this City's Kitchens

Khaled Khalifa


    Dar al-Ain


The Journeys of 'Abdi, known as Son of Hamriya

Abdelrahim Lahbibi


    Africa East

The Blue

Ahmed Mourad


Dar al-Shorouq

Frankenstein in Baghdad

Ahmed Saadawi



Saad Albazei comments: ‘This year’s longlist was full of excellent books – a reflection of the overall quality of Arabic fiction published this year – so it was a real challenge to whittle the list down to just six. The shortlisted novels are varied in their narrative styles and language: from discovering virtual reality to the mingling of fantasy and reality, they also include classical language and multiple narrative voices and demonstrate the Arabic novel's ability to flower despite the harsh realities of daily life.’

Professor Yasir Suleiman, Chair of the Board of Trustees, comments: ‘This year's shortlist includes a rich selection of outstanding novels, in which subject, narrative style and atmosphere are dominated by current fragmented reality and human suffering. There are new voices in the list who are reaching this stage in the prize for the first time and more experienced ones who have been there before. Despite their differences, they all have in common humanitarian concerns and masterful storytelling, gripping and enthralling the reader.’

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction is awarded for prose fiction in Arabic and each of the six shortlisted finalists receives $10,000, with a further $50,000 going to the winner. It was launched in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in April 2007, and is supported by the Booker Prize Foundation in London and funded by the TCA Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

For all information about the 2014 shortlist authors and titles and more about the Prize, please visit

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The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on 29 April 2014, on the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.


Published Date - 10/02/2014