The shortlist for the ArabLit Story Prize 2023, the sixth edition so far, was announced on Monday, October 30, 2023.
The ArabLit Story Prize is an award celebrating the best short stories, in any genre, newly translated from Arabic into English. It was founded by Arablit.org, a leading resource on Arab literature in 2018. Previous winners have been Egyptian writer Mohammad Abdelnabi and Robin Moger (2018), Najwa Bin Shatwan and Sawad Hussain (2019), Hadiya Hussein and Shakir Mustafa (2020), Mustafa Taj Alden Almosa, Maisaa Tanjour, and Alice Holttum (2021), and Belal Fadi and James Scanlan (2022).
The three judges for the prize for 2023 are previous winner Shakir Mustafa, acclaimed author-translator Yasmine Zohdi, and beloved short-story writer Muhammad El-Hajj. The shortlists for the award are;
- A Day on Restaurants Street with Makki, by Wajdi al-Ahdal, translated by William Hutchins.
Of this story, Judge Yasmine Zohdi said: “In the edgy, memorable voice of an unreliable narrator, the rich sensory atmosphere and diverse patrons of a busy street in San’aa come to life, creating a vibrant microcosm where the daily flux of the city and the protagonist’s inner turbulence intertwine. An immersive mixture of wisdom and delusion.”
- God Loves Me, Credo, by Rachida el-Charni, translated by Anne Willborn.
Judge Muhammad Hajj said, of this story: “Smooth, lively and well-plotted, ‘God Loves Me, Credo’ builds nimbly, carving a gritty frieze of the tension between an overwhelming sense of defeat and the will to survive.”
- The Desert Also Keened, by Ibrahim al-Koni, translated by Dima El-Mouallem.
Of this story, judge Shakir Mustafa said: “The story spins a myriad of mythologies about seemings and beings, and ends up shaking the illusions of a gilded but harmful iconography.”
The winner will be announced on November 15, 2023, with the two splitting the US$500 cash prize which is crowdfunded by ArabLit readers.