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Wajdi Al-Ahdal is a novelist, short story writer and playwright, born in the province of Hudaydah, Yemen, in 1973.
In 2002-03, his debut novel, Qawarib Jabaliya (Mountain Boats), which was reviewed in Banipal 19, created a considerable amount of controversy in Yemen and due to threats from radical conservatives he was forced to leave the country for a while, staying in Lebanon until he could safely return.
He is the winner of numerous Yemeni literary prizes in
Banipal's issue on Literature in Yemen Today (No 36) featured a chapter from Wagdi's novel A Land without Jasmine, translated by William M Hutchins. Published later, in 2012, by Garnet Publishing, A Land Without Jasmine's translator William M Hutchins was joint winner of the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.
The Judges said of the book: "A Land Without Jasmine – A gripping page-turner from a gifted and original storyteller, superbly translated"
"The novel deals with many social and political issues such as the sexual repression of males in a conservative society and the corruption of public institutions yet it does so in the guise of a thriller that keeps the reader enthralled. The story is told by several characters whose accounts do not often tally with one another, leaving room for the readers to synthesise their own version of the truth. Altogether a gripping page-turner from a talented writer, superbly translated by William Maynard Hutchins."
For more about the book and the 2013 Prize click here.Iin 2019 it was dramatised by the Sarha Collective and staged at Battersea Arts Centre, London.
His fifth novel, Land of Happy Conspiracies, is excerpted in Banipal 65 (Summer 2019) from page 57, Fand an essay by him on his Literary Influences essay is in the same issue, see page 182.