Arabic Booker long list announced with 3 Egyptian writers

Mohammed Saad , Wednesday 13 Jan 2016

Egyptian writers Mansi Qandi, Mohamed Rabei and Ibrahim Farghali were long listed for the Arabic Booker in 2016 making it – equal with Palestinian authors- the highest number of writers longlisted from a single country


The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), known as the Arabic Booker, was announced on Tuesday 12 January, with 16 novels contending for the 2016 prize.

Egyptian and Palestinian authors had the equally had the most number of writers from ant country on the longlist.

The three Egyptian writers are Mohamed Mansi Qandil for his novel The Black Brigade, Ibrahim Farghali for his novel The Temple of Silken Fingers, and Mohamed Rabei, for his novel Mercury. 

The IPAF said in a press release that the 16 long listed novels were chosen from 159 entries from 18 countries, all published within the last 12 months.

Two of this year’s longlisted authors have been shortlisted for the prize previously: Rabai al-Madhoun and Mohamed Mansi Qandil both appeared on the IPAF shortlist in 2010, with al-Madhoun’s book, The Lady from Tel Aviv, now available in English translation from Telegram Books.

The chair of this year's judging panel was Taleb Alrefai.

The list also includes a number of younger writers and debut novelists. Three long listed writers are under the age of 40, and first novels by Tareq Bakari and Abdennour Mezzine have been included. In addition, two of the long listed authors – Mohamed Rabie and Shahla Ujayli – have previously participated in IPAF’s annual nadwa, or writers’ workshop, for emerging writers with promise. Ujayli worked on a section of her long listed book, A Sky Close to Our House, during the 2014 nadwa.

The full 2016 longlist, with author names in alphabetical order, is as follows:




Country of origin



Taleb Alrefai


Platinum Books

Hymns of Temptation

Laila al-Atrash


Difaf Publications


Tareq Bakari


Dar al-Adab

The Temple of Silken Fingers

Ibrahim Farghali



People of the Palms

Janan Jasim Halawi


Saqi Books

Mariam's Journey

Mahmoud Hasan al-Jasim


Dar Tanweer, Egypt

Desertified Waters

Hazim Kamaledin



Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba

Rabai al-Madhoun


Maktabat Kul Shee

Letters of the Storm

Abdennour Mezzine


Slaiki Akhawayn Publications

Warsaw a Little While Ago

Ahmed Muhsin


Hachette Antoine

The Prophecy of Saqqa

Hamed al-Nazir


Dar Tanweer, Tunis

The Black Brigade

Mohamed Mansi Qandil


Dar al-Shorouq


Mohamed Rabie


Dar Tanweer, Lebanon

Praise for the Women of the Family

Mahmoud Shukair


Hachette Antoine

A Sky Close to Our House

Shahla Ujayli


Difaf Publications

The Guard of the Dead

George Yaraq


Difaf Publications



The books were selected by a panel of five judges, whose names will be announced in Muscat, Oman, on Tuesday 9 February 2016, at the same time as the 2016 shortlist of six titles.

The 2016 Chair of Judges comments on the longlist: 

“The task of choosing this year's longlist was not easy given the high quality of overall submissions, which featured many young, unknown writers in addition to well-established names.

However, a strong longlist has emerged, with many of the titles dealing with their subjects in fresh and unconventional ways and using experimental language. The books look at topical concerns from the Arab world – from daily life to larger political and social issues – and, between them, condemn violence, sectarianism (political, religious and tribal) and current dictatorships.”

This is the ninth year of the Prize. Professor Yasir Suleiman CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, comments:

“This is an impressive longlist of novels that hail from different parts of the Arab world. They address abiding issues that touch different aspects of our humanity in vivid and often disturbing ways that challenge preconceived ideas. Technically mature and sometimes demanding, the longlist lives up to the IPAF tradition of enticing the readers into new worlds of the creative imagination.”

The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2016 will be announced at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 26 April 2016, the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The six shortlisted finalists will receive $10,000, with a further $50,000 going to the winner.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction is an annual literary prize for prose fiction in Arabic. It is run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London and is funded by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) in the UAE.


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