Just recieved Hay Festival's statement on the resignation of Egyptian novliest Alaa al-Aswany - author of 'The Yacoubian Building', 'Chicago' and 'Friendly Fire' - as chair of the judges of Beirut39:
In reply to Alaa Al Aswany’s resignation, the following statement has been issued by HAY FESTIVAL of Literature, Organizer of “Beirut39”.
HAY FESTIVAL is grateful to Alaa Al Aswany for his contribution to the project “Beirut39”. This project is an open competition subject to certain criteria, and anybody fulfilling the criteria is welcome and encouraged to apply. One of the criteria for eligibility, is that candidates must have at least one work published (poetry/fiction) and we will stick to that premise.
The other conditions state that the writer should have Arab origins and born in 1970 or after. The candidate can also write in any other languages.
Consequently, we are pleased to proceed with three judges committed to promoting young writers, Abdo Wazen, Lebanese writer / poet and cultural editor of the international daily Al-Hayat newspaper, Alawiya Sobh, Lebanese writer and poet, Saif Al Rahbi, Omani poet and editor- in –chief of “Nazwa” Omani cultural magazine. They have the challenging, yet rewarding task of selecting the best 39 writers among many other nominees, more than 300 up to this date; a figure which will be surely increasing till the deadline of 31 July 2009. For more information, please visit the website:
We are confident that “Beirut39” has been advertised through the right channels so far. In addition, we have assured Alaa Al Aswany and the jury members that we will continue working to maximize the calling for nominations and applications so as to extend the scope of the project.
Our thanks to the Beirut World Book Committee for their support on Beirut39.