Egyptians Adel Esmat and Iman Yehia make it to Arabic Booker longlist
Mohammed Saad, Monday 7 Jan 2019
The novels selected by the judges were chosen from 134 entries, all published in Arabic between July 2017 and June 2018


The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), known as the Arabic Booker, announced on Monday the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2019 prize.

The longlist includes two Egyptian writers, Adel Esmat for his novel Al-Wassaya (The Commandments), and Iman Yehia, for his novel Al-Zawga El-Mexikya (The Mexican Wife).

The novels selected by the judges were chosen from 134 entries, all published in Arabic between July 2017 and June 2018.

The full 2019 longlist, listed in alphabetical order by author's surname, is as follows:







Author



Title



Country of origin



Publisher





Mohammed Abi Samra



Women Without Trace



Lebanon



Riyad al-Rayyes





Omaima Abdullah Al-Khamis



Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate



Saudi Arabia



Dar Al Saqi





Hoda Barakat



The Night Mail



Lebanon



Dar al-Adab





Jalal Bargas



Women of the Five Senses



Jordan



Arabic Institute for Research and Publishing





Adel Esmat



The Commandments



Egypt



Kotob Khan





Maysalun Hadi



Mohammed's Brothers



Iraq



Dar al-Dhakira





Huji Jaber



Black Foam



Eritrea



Dar Tanweer, Lebanon





Inaam Kachachi



The Outcast



Iraq



Dar al-Jadid





Waciny Laredj



May — The Nights of Isis Copia



Algeria



Dar al-Adab





Mohammed Al-Maazuz



What Sin Caused her to Die?



Morocco



Cultural Book Centre





May Menassa



I Killed My Mother to Live



Lebanon



Riyad al-Rayyes





Mbarek Rabi



Western Mediterranean



Morocco



Arabic Institute for Research and Publishing





Habib Sayah



Me and Haim



Algeria



Dar Mim





Shahla Ujayli



Summer with the Enemy



Syria



Difaf Publishing





Iman Yehia



The Mexican Wife



Egypt



Dar al-Shorouk





Kafa Al-Zou’bi



Cold White Sun



Jordan



Dar al-Adab







The longlist includes seven female authors — the highest number in the prize’s history — and nine male authors, ranging in age from 43 to 79 and representing nine countries. Collectively, the writers address important issues facing the Arab world today and reflect on the region’s rich history and traditions.

The longlist was chosen by a panel of five judges chaired byCharafdin Majdolin, a Moroccan critic and academic, who specialises in aesthetics, verbal and visual narratives and comparative studies. Judging alongside Majdolin areFowziyah AbuKhalid, a Saudi Arabian poet, writer, academic and researcher in social and political issues;Zulaikha Aburisha, a Jordanian poet, columnist, researcher and human and women’s rights activist;Zhang HongYi, a Chinese academic, translator and researcher; andLatif Zeitouni, a Lebanese academic and literary critic, who specialises in narratology.

Of the 16 authors chosen, many are recognisable names. Six have been acknowledged in the past for the prize, including Omaima Abdullah Al-Khamis, longlisted forThe Leafy Treein 2010; Hoda Barakat, longlisted forThe Kingdom of the Earthin 2013; Inaam Kachachi, shortlisted forThe American Granddaughterin 2009 and again in 2014 forTashari;Waciny Laredj, longlisted on three occasions forThe Andalusian Housein 2011,Lolita's Fingers in2013 andAshes of the East: the Wolf who Grew Up in the Wildernessin 2014; May Menassa, shortlisted forWalking in the Dustin 2008 and a mentor for IPAF’s 2013 Nadwa; and Shahla Ujayli,who was shortlisted forA Sky Close to Our Housein 2016 and attended the 2014 Nadwa as a mentee.

The 10 authors making their first appearance on the longlist are Mohammed Abi Samra, Jalal Bargas, Adel Esmat, Maysalun Hadi, Huji Jaber, Mohammed Al-Maazuz, Mbarek Rabi, Habib Sayah, Iman Yehia and Kafa Al-Zou’bi.

Majdolin commented: “The novels selected for the longlist this year arise from different experiences and stylistic choices, ranging from the historical to a contemplative kind of realism; from the autobiographical to the documentary; and from extended to economic narrative prose. This may be because the authors come from different generations, or from different parts of the Arab world. The novels in the last analysis reflect intersecting human pain and disappointment as well as common aspirations.

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