Ibrahim Al-Koni has donated the LE100,000 (18,000 USD) prize money of the Arabic Novel Award to the children of Tuareg tribe in Mali and Niger. Mohamed Ali Al-Ansari stood up in 1960 to announce the misery the tribe suffers to the world, requesting help. Until now their deprivation continues.
Al-Koni said his gesture was one of sacrifice from the creative writer who is bound to be a messenger for those in need and to unite cultures. Al-Koni thanked the selection committee for their appreciation of his work and congratulated the creator of the award.
Farouk Hosni, minister of culture, conferred the prize following its announcement by Sobhi Hadidi, a Syrian critic and one of the members of the selection committee.
According to the committee, "Al-Koni invented a complex anthropologic narrative that is loyal to people and to events, linking the natural and supernatural and restoring the local epic [and] registering the stories of the residents of the desert."
Al-Koni has completed 45 novels, all of which display rich and lively language.
The selection committee was comprised of the Jordanian critic Mohamed Shaheen, the Egyptian critics Ibrahim Fathi and Hussein Hammouda, Abdel-Hameed Amhadeen from Bahrain and Abdel-Riheem Allam from Morocco, in addition to Hadidi. The selection process passed through five rounds and considered 23 competing works.
The prize, given by the Ministry of Culture, is supposed to be awarded every two years.
In its first round, in 1998, the award went to Saudi author Abel-Rahman Munif. The second round in 2003 was supposed to be awarded to the Egyptian author Sonallah Ibrahim. However, he refused to receive the award in a renowned incident, protesting the compliance of the Egyptian government in front of Israel, the occupation of Iraq and the US presence in Egypt.
The third award in 2005 went to Sudanese author Tayyeb Saleh. In 2008, the prize went to Egyptian author Edward Kharrat.