Two Egyptian writers make it to Arabic Booker longlist

Mohammed Saad , Wednesday 17 Jan 2018

The selected novels in the longlist were chosen from 124 entries from 14 countries

Arabic Booker
The longlist of the Arabic Booker 2018

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction, also known as the Arabic Booker, announced on Wednesday the longlist of 16 novels in contention for the 2018 Prize.

The longlist includes two young Egyptian authors; Ahmed Abdel Latif and Rasha Adly.

The prize also revealed the judging panel that chose the longlist. The panel was chaired by Jordanian academic, critic, poet, novelist and playwright Ibrahim Al-Saafin.

The 2018 judges serving alongside Ibrahim Al-Saafin are Inam Bioud, an Algerian academic, translator, novelist and poet; Jamal Mahjoub, a Sudanese-British writer and novelist; Mahmoud Shukair, a Palestinian short story writer and novelist; and Barbara Skubic, a Slovenian writer and translator.

The full 2018 longlist, with author names in alphabetical order, is as follows:



Country of origin


Ahmed Abdel-Latif

The Earthen Fortress


Dar al-Ain

Atef Abu Saif




Rasha Adly



Arab Scientific Publishers

Fadi Azzam

Huddud's House


Dar Al-Adab

Antoine Douaihy

The Last Country


Arab Scientific Publishers

Amir Tag Elsir

Flowers Consumed by Fire


Dar Al-Saqi

Aziz Mohammed

The Critical Case of "K"

Saudi Arabia

Dar Tanweer, Lebanon

Ibrahim Nasrallah

The Second War of the Dog


Arab Scientific Publishers

Amjad Nasser

Here is the Rose


Dar Al-Adab

Hamed Al-Nazir

The Black Peacock



Shahad Al-Rawi

Baghdad Clock


Dar Al-Hikma, London

Taleb Al-Refai



That Al-Salasil

Walid Shurafa

Heir of the Tombstones



Dima Wannous

The Frightened Ones


Dar Al-Adab

Hussein Yassin

Ali, the Story of an Honourable Man


Dar Al-Ru'aat

Amin Zaoui

Leg Over Leg - in the Sighting of the Lovers' Crescent

































Of the 16 authors chosen, many are recognisable names, with three having been shortlisted for the Prize previously – Atef Abu Saif (2015, A Suspended Life); Amir Tag Elsir (2011, The Grub Hunter); and Ibrahim Nasrallah (2009, Time of White Horses). The latter two have also been longlisted and served as mentors on the Prize’s Nadwa – an annual writing workshop for talented, emerging writers.

A further five of this year’s list have been previously longlisted; Fadi Azzam, Antoine Douaihy, Hamed Al-Nazir, Taleb Al-Refai and Amin Zaoui.

Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Rasha Adly, Aziz Mohammed, Amjad Nasser, Shahad Al Rawi, Walid Shurafa, Dima Wannous and Hussein Yassin all make their first appearance on the list.

The two youngest authors on the list, Saudi Arabian author Aziz Mohamed and Iraqi Shahad Al Rawi, are longlisted with their debut novels. Shahad Al-Rawi’s Baghdad Clock has already been translated into English and is due to be published by Oneworld Publications this year.

Jaudges panel chair Al-Saafin said that "the novels on the longlist are thematically and stylistically varied: realistic, fantastical, historical and social, but all in their different ways tackle Arab reality and the challenges faced by Arab societies on political, cultural and human levels, as well as grappling with questions of identity. They bring to life the tragic distortions and dreams of these societies, delving deep into the past to throw light on current issues."

The prize also announced that the shortlist will be announced in February and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the Fairmont Bab Al-Bahr in Abu Dhabi on 24 April, 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.

Last year’s winner of the prize was A Small Death by Mohamed Hasan Alwan.        

This year will see the publication in English of 2016 winner Rabai Al-Madhoun’s Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and Al-Nakba by Hoopoe Fiction, along with 2014 winner Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad by Oneworld in the UK and Penguin Books in the US.

Other winners already available in English include Baha Taher’s Sunset Oasis in 2009 and Youssef Ziedan’s Azazeel in 2012. English translations of Abdo Khal’s Spewing Sparks as Big as Castles and Mohammed Achaari’s The Arch and the Butterfly were published in 2014. Saud Alsanousi’s The Bamboo Stalk was published in 2015 and Raja Alem’s novel, The Dove’s Necklace in 2016.

Short link: