The novel “The Prisoner of the Portuguese” by Moroccan Mouhcen Al-Wakili, published by the publishing house Mim, is in the long list of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2022, which has sixteen.
Thus, says a press release from the Prize, novels by writers from nine countries, aged 30 to 65, which address various issues, from the struggle of artists for their survival in the face of wars and repressive authorities, to the relationship between East and the West, including issues of freedom, motherhood and notions of gender.
Besides Morocco, the long list includes novelists from Egypt, Syria, the Emirates, Libya, Kuwait, Oman, Eritrea and Algeria.
The 16 novels that were selected from 122 titles submitted for the Prize affirm the diversity of Arab societies socially, ethnically and religiously, while condemning the exploitation of the region’s crises to accumulate illegal wealth. These works also give voice to Arab and African women, since two novels on the list tell the stories of two women who lived in the shadow of two famous Western writers.
A five-member jury, chaired by the Tunisian critic, novelist and academic Chokri Al-Mabkhout, winner of the Prize in 2015 for his novel “The Italian”, made the choice of titles.
Iman Humaidan, Lebanese writer and board member of the International PEN Club, Bayan Rihanova, professor of Arabic literature at Sophia University, Bulgaria, Ashour Al-Tuwaibi, doctor, poet and translator from Libya, and Saadia Mufreh, a poet and critic from Kuwait, make up the said jury.
Dedicated to the field of novelistic creation in Arabic, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction aims to promote the Arabic novel worldwide, by financing the translation of the winning works into English.
It is sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Center for Arabic Language under the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, and is supported by the Booker Prize Foundation in London.