Tuesday, March 02, 2010
saudi novelist abdo khal wins the $60,000 'international prize for arabic fiction' aka 'the arabic booker'
This is the press release from the publicist of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Colman Getty Consultancy, announcing that the prize has gone to Saudi writer Abdo Khal.
The prize is worth a total of $60,000 to the winner: $50,000, plus the $10,000 that goes to each of the six shortlisted writers.
SPEWING SPARKS AS BIG AS CASTLES
BY ABDO KHAL
WINS INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARABIC FICTION 2010
Supported by the Booker Prize Foundation
Funded by the Emirates Foundation
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday 2 March 2010 – The winner of the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is SPEWING SPARKS AS BIG AS CASTLES by ABDO KHAL, published by Al-Jamal Publications, Baghdad/Beirut, 2009. The winner of the prestigious literary prize was announced tonight at a gala awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi before an audience of international publishers, critics, writers and journalists.
A painfully satirical novel, Spewing Sparks as Big as Castles depicts the destructive impact that power and limitless wealth has on life and the environment. It captures the seductive powers of the palace and tells the agonising story of those who have become enslaved by it, drawn by its promise of glamour. Spewing Sparks as Big as Castles exposes the inner world of the palace and of those who have chosen to become its puppets, from whom it has stolen everything.
The winner announcement was made by the Chair of Judges, the renowned Kuwaiti writer Taleb Alrefai. With him were the three other members of the judging panel: Raja’ Ben Salamah, Tunisian lecturer from the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities at Manouba University, Tunisia; Frédéric LaGrange, French academic, translator and Head of the Arabic and Hebraic Department at the Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) and Saif al-Rahbi, Omani writer and poet.
The Chair of Judges, Taleb Alrefai, commented: “The winning novel is a brilliant exploration of the relationship between the individual and the state. Through the eyes of its two dimensional protagonist, the book gives the reader a taste of the horrifying reality of the excessive world of the palace.
“Although only one novel can win the Prize, many exciting and inspiring novels were submitted. The judging panel worked hard in order to consider all this year’s submitted novels, maintaining the established tradition of independence and transparency.”
The Prize, which is awarded annually, is run with the support of the UK’s Booker Prize Foundation and is funded by the Emirates Foundation, one of the leading philanthropic organisations in the UAE. Its aim is to recognise and reward excellence in contemporary Arabic creative writing and to encourage wider readership internationally through translation. In addition to the annual prize, IPAF supports literary initiatives and in 2009 launched its inaugural nadwa (writers’ workshop) for a group of aspiring Arabic writers.
The names of the six shortlisted titles for this independent and prestigious Arabic fiction prize – and those of the previously anonymous judging panel – were announced at a press conference in Beirut on 15 December 2009. For the 2010 Prize, the judges have read and discussed in detail a total of 113 Arabic novels, entered from 17 countries.
The shortlisted finalists for the prize each receive $10,000, with the winner receiving an additional $50,000. They can look forward to reaching wider audiences and potentially securing publishing deals – both within the Arab World and internationally. The previous two winners for the prize – Bahaa Taher (Sunset Oasis) and Youssef Ziedan (Azazel) – have not only secured English publications of their novels, through Sceptre (Hodder & Stoughton) and Atlantic Books respectively, but also a number other international translations as a result of the prize.
Jonathan Taylor CBE, Chairman of the IPAF Board of Trustees, and of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “In its third year, the Prize has recognised and rewarded another outstanding novel. The Prize continues to generate great excitement and discussion, both in the Arabic world and beyond.”
Salwa Mikdadi, Head of the Arts and Culture Programme at the Emirates Foundation, added: “The Emirates Foundation is pleased and gratified at the exceptional response the Prize ha received regionally and internationally which has resulted in an increase in readership and opportunities for emerging Arab writers."
The Administrator of the Prize, Joumana Haddad, commented: “The importance of the IPAF lies not only in its financial value, but in the social and cultural influence it has, the most important aspect of which is supporting high quality Arabic fiction and encouraging both writers and readers to consider writing and reading as vital acts.”
This year’s winner announcement took place on the evening of the first day of Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2010. A number of IPAF events will take place during the course of the book fair, details of which are given overleaf.
IPAF events taking place during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2010:
Wednesday 3 March
11am Al Multaqa Ladies’ Book Club event with the 5 shortlisted writers of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Location: Hall 8, E46
11.30-12.30am “Meet the Winner of the 2010 IPAF”, Discussion Forum at the
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, hosted by Yassin Adnan. Location: Hall 9, D40
Thursday 4 March
11am Al Multaqa Ladies’ Book Club event, with the Winner of the
International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Location: Hall 8, E46
5–7pm “Meet the 2010 IPAF Shortlisted Authors” at the KITAB Sofa, hosted by Sayed Mahmoud. Location: Hall 8, K46
For more information visit: www.adbookfair.com
· This is the third year of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. For a full history of the prize visit the website: www.arabicfiction.org. The site features the rules of entry, background information and breaking news and is the quickest way for the prize’s worldwide audience to access information
All works submitted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction must be prose fiction in Arabic
The IPAF 2010 shortlist (with names in English) and authors (with country of origin), is as follows:
The Lady from Tel Aviv
Arab Institute for Publishing and Studies
Ez Eldin, Mansoura
Al-Markaz al-Thaqafi al-Arabi (Arab Cultural Centre)
Spewing Sparks as Big as Castles
Mansi Qandil, Mohamed
A Cloudy Day on the West Side
When the Wolves Grow Old
Ministry of Culture Publications
The IPAF 2010 judging panel consists of:
Taleb Alrefai (Chair), Kuwaiti novelist and short story writer; Raja’ Ben Salamah, Tunisian lecturer from the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities at Manouba University, Tunisia; Frédéric LaGrange, French academic, translator and Head of the Arabic and Hebraic Department at the Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV); Saif al-Rahbi, Omani writer and poet.
· The winner of the 2008 prize - Sunset Oasis by Egyptian novelist Bahaa Taher – has recently been published in the UK by Sceptre (an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton). It also has translation and publication deals in France, Germany, Norway, Greece Romania, Bosnia and Canada
· The winner of the 2009 prize – Azazel by Egyptian writer Youssef Ziedan – will be published in the UK by Atlantic Books in August 2011. It will also be published in Italian, German, Greek, Romanian, Bosnian and Croatian
The International Prize for Arabic Fiction was launched in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, in April 2007 and it is funded by the Emirates Foundation, one of the leading philanthropic organisations in the UAE
Other supporters of the Prize include Etihad Airways, as the official airline of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
· An independent Board of Trustees, drawn from across the Arab world and beyond, is responsible for the overall management of the prize. The trustees are, in alphabetical order: Marie-Thérèse Abdul-Messih, Professor of English & Comparative Literature, University of Cairo, Egypt; Bachar Chebaro, Publisher, Scientific Arab Publishers, Lebanon; Dr. Peter Clark OBE, Independent Consultant and Writer, Middle East Cultural Advisory Services, UK; Sasha Havlicek, Executive Director, Trialogue Educational Trust; Khaled Hroub, Arab academic and director of Cambridge Arab Media Project, UK; Farouk Mardam-Bey, Cultural Advisor, Institut du Monde Arabe, France; Zaki Nusseibeh, Advisor, Ministry of Presidential Affairs – Vice-Chairman, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage; Margaret Obank, Publisher and Editor, Banipal magazine of Modern Arab Literature, UK; William Sieghart Chairman & Founder, Forward Publishing, National Poetry Day, UK; Yasir Suleiman, Professor of Arabic, University of Cambridge, UK; Evelyn Smith, Company Secretary, Booker Prize Foundation, UK; Jonathan Taylor CBE, Chairman, Booker Prize Foundation, UK
· In addition to the annual prize, the IPAF supports literary initiatives and in 2009 launched its inaugural nadwa (writers’ workshop) for a group of aspiring writers from across the Arab world. The workshop – the first of its kind for Arab writers - took place in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. It resulted in eight new pieces of fiction by some of the Arab world’s most promising authors, five of whom have recently been selected for the Beirut39. This collection of stories is due to be published in 2010.