Good news: A prize for the best Arab fiction

I was extremely pleased to learn of the existence of the brand new "International Prize for Arabic Fiction," which this year went to Egyptian author Baha Taher for his book Sunset Oasis. According to Bloomberg, "The $50,000 prize, announced at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi, aims to secure recognition for outstanding Arabic authors and to ensure that their works will be translated."

The list of finalists includes:

  • June Rain by Jabbour Douaihy (Lebanon)
  • The Land of Purgatory by Elias Farkouh (Jordan)
  • In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa (Syria)
  • Walking in the Dust by May Menassa (Lebanon)
  • Swan Song by Mekkaoui Said (Egypt)
  • Sunset Oasis by Baha Taher (Egypt)

Yes, I’m pleased to see a Jordanian on that list. This is really great news for Arab fiction and it is highly needed. I always enjoy reading Arab fiction. I have enjoyed it still more while here in the US since it is so hard to find. My friends and family have been extremely generous in providing me with the latest in Arab contemporary fiction. For that I’m truly grateful. Now I’d love to get my hands on a copy of Elias Farkouh’s The Land of Purgatory. Can anyone hear me?

Hat tip: [Moorish Girl]


  1. Wasim March 13, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Yes I can!

    “The Land of Purgatory” ?
    If you couldn’t find this book in the US, I will try to get you a copy and send it to you by mail.
    I will search for the book, maybe read it myself then send it to you!

  2. Brian Ulrich March 14, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I read Bahaa Taher’s Love in Exile last fall. It was great!

  3. dreamessence March 15, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Yes, it is true that it is difficult to spot Arab fiction in the US–it is virtually non-existent. I hope that during the years to come, this will change because of prizes and endeavors such as these.

  4. natasha March 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you Wasim. I really appreciate it:)

  5. tommy March 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    How many of these titles are available in English? I’m curious about the state of contemporary Arab fiction.

  6. scilla August 15, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Hi My name is Scilla,

    I am Italian, I love arabic country Ikter Ikter Ikter šŸ™‚

    I came for 4 time in Jordan in my friends home and I watch the arabic fictions….

    I like too much and I wish work in this if is possible, but I don’t know how I can…. and at how ask or write mail

    If someone can help me please send me mail…..

    I don’ t speack arabic ( little ) just English and Italian…

    Shukran šŸ™‚ Scilla


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