What We’re Reading Today: Politics: Profile Ideas

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DUBAI: “Cairo Maquette” by Egyptian writer Tarek Imam, “Rose’s Diary” by Emirati author Reem Al-Kamali, “Dilshad” by author Bushra Khalfan from Oman, “The Prisoner of the Portuguese” by Moroccan Mohsine Loukili, “The White Line of Night” by Kuwaiti novelist Khaled Nasrallah and “Bread on Uncle Milad’s Table” by Libyan writer Mohammed Al-Nu’as were announced as the shortlisted works for the 15th Prize International Arab Fiction.

The novelists are competing for a $50,000 prize, and the winner will be revealed May 22 at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi, which will also be streamed online.

The shortlist was chosen by five judges, including Tunisian novelist and former IPAF Laureate Shukri Mabkhout and Libyan doctor, poet and translator Ashur Etwebi, who chose from 19 shortlisted works from 122 entries from nine countries in the Arab world. .

“The six novels represent a surprisingly diverse range of topics and forms around identity and freedom. Some of them took us on a journey to the past, inspired by the aspirations and struggles of people living in various parts of the Arab world,” said Mabkhout, president of the 2022 judges, in a published statement.

“Other novelists on this list have portrayed freedom from different angles, such as freedom of imagination to reconstruct a reality in which fantasy and truth intertwine, freedom of expression and creativity in the face of visible oppression or hidden, and freedom of individual identity,” he added.

Professor Yasir Suleiman, chairman of the board, called the shortlist of works “bold” and praised the authors for exploring “unpopular topics” and adding “credibility to the assertion according to which the novel is a form of political substitution and social expression”.

Collectively, the writers, aged 34-52 and representing six Arab countries, tackle a range of important issues including identity, access to education, poverty, gender roles, fear, revenge and freedom of expression.

The six shortlisted authors will each receive $10,000.

Jordanian writer Jalal Barjas won the award last year for his book “The Bookseller’s Notebooks”, announced at an online ceremony in May. In addition to the $50,000 prize, the author also received funding to obtain an English translation of his novel.

Read on to discover the shortlisted books.

“Cairo Model”

Tarek Imam uses creative literary techniques to explore Egypt’s political, social and cultural transformation.

“Rose’s Diary”

Emirati author Reem Al-Kamali’s debut novel is set in Dubai’s Old Quarter in the 1960s, where Rose reveals her emotions in a diary.

“Dilhad”

Inspired by Omani history, Bushra Khalfan’s novel tells the story of a family’s hardships over three generations in early to mid-20th century Oman.

“The Prisoner of the Portuguese”

Moroccan author Mohsine Loukili explores the relationship between a man and his jailer in a Portuguese prison on the Moroccan coast.

“The White Line of Night”

Kuwaiti writer Khaled Nasrallah is the youngest novelist to be shortlisted for his book which follows a man struggling with a controversial novel ban.

“Bread on Uncle Milad’s Table”

Libyan author Mohammed Al-Nu’as explores gender roles and ideas of masculinity in a remote village in his native country.

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