The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) board of directors announced today that, as of the 2013 – its sixth – round, the prize will be sponsored by the newly created Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA). In a press release, IPAF said the prize fits better with TCA’s mandate, which covers the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and the Louvre and Guggenheim developments. IPAF said it will maintain its unwavering commitment to independence, transparency and integrity.
The change in funding comes at the end of the fifth year of the Prize which, since its inception in 2007, has depended on the support of the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy, which was re-launched earlier this year as the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development under a strategy that moves away from grant making to social investment in sustainable long-term programmes which improve the lives of young people in the UAE positively and permanently.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Managing Director of the Emirates Foundation and Chairman of the Abu Tourism and Culture Authority, comments, “Since its launch in 2007, the Prize has grown steadily building a reputation of transparency and independence not only regionally but also worldwide. It is with pride that Abu Dhabi will remain the main hub of the Prize. The new sponsorship will not affect the Prize’s administration which shall remain the same. We see IPAF as an important Prize that has enriched global readers with the best in Arabic literature translated into different languages and we are committed to continue supporting this successful initiative.”
Jonathan Taylor, Chairman of Trustees for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, adds, “We have been hugely grateful to the Emirates Foundation whose steadfast support over the first five years of the prize enabled its successful establishment. We now start a new chapter in partnership with TCA Abu Dhabi, which will ensure the future of the Prize and the continuation of the independence and integrity for which it is noted.”
Over five years, the Prize has been awarded to six winners and, to date, IPAF novels have been translated into 20 languages. The 2008 and 2009 winners are now available in English and publication in English has been secured for the winners in the three subsequent years. Rights for the latest (2012) winner, Rabee Jaber, have already been sold in several languages including Polish and Spanish. Submissions for the 2013 Prize closed at the end of June and are at an all-time high, with over 130 eligible submissions from 16 countries across the Arab world: a reflection of the Prize’s importance for the literary community. As of this year, publishers are able to submit any new title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the Prize, in addition to three other novels.
The Prize also welcomes three new trustees this autumn, to replace retiring trustees. They are: Jordanian publisher Maher Kayyali; Lebanese-American publisher Michel Moushabeck and Emirati poet and film-maker Nojoom Alghanem.
The long list for the 2013 Prize will be announced in December 2012, followed by the shortlist in January 2013. As per tradition, the winner will be announced at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in April 2013