International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Seven Africans make International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2019 longlist.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2019 longlist has been announced with seven Africans making the January 7, 2019 cut. They are Iman Yehia, Habib Sayah, Mbarek Rabi, Mohammed Al-Maazuz, Waciny Laredj, Huji Jaber, and Adel Esmat.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction, given to a novel in Arabic which judges consider to be the best of that year, is considered to be the most prestigious and important literary prize in the Arab world today. The prize, launched in 2007, is run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. Previous winners include Bahaa Taher (2008), Yusuf Zeydan (2009), Abdo Khal (2010), Mohammed Achaari (2011), Rabee Jaber (2012), Saud Alsanousi (2013), Ahmed Saadawi (2014), Shukri Mabkhout (2015), Rabai al-Madhoun (2016), Mohammed Hasan Alwan (2017), and Ibrahim Nasrallah (2018).

The longlist of 16 has been announced and as you would expect from a prize for novels written in Arabic there are novelists from Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. An interesting entry this year is by Eritrean Huji Jaber for his novel Black Foam. The full list of Africans on the longlist is;

  • The Commandments by Adel Esmat (Egypt) published by Kotob Khan.
  • Black Foam by Huji Jaber (Eritrea) published by Dar Tanweer, Lebanon.
  • The Nights of Isis Copia by Waciny Laredj May (Algeria) published by Dar al-Adab.
  • What Sin Caused her to Die? By Mohammed Al-Maazuz (Morocco) published by Cultural Book Centre.
  • Western Mediterranean by Mbarek Rabi (Morocco) published by Arabic Institute for Research and Publishing.
  • Me and Haim by Habib Sayah (Algeria) published by Dar Mim.
  • The Mexican Wife by Iman Yehia (Egypt) published by Dar al-Shorouk.

The shortlist of six will be announced on February 5, with the winner announced in Abu Dhabi on April 23. The shortlisted finalists will receive $10,000, with a further $50,000 going to the winner.

Further reading on this prize can be found from our friends at


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