The International Prize for Arab Fiction (IPAF)
The International Prize for Arab Fiction (IPAF) is going to hold its sixth edition in Abu Dhabi next March.The annual literary prize was launched in 2007 to enlarge the limited international availability of high
quality Arab fiction. It is run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London and funded by the Emirates Foundation in Abu Dhabi.
Every year a panel of five judges made up of literary critics, writers and academics from the Arab world and beyond is selected from the so called Board of Trustees. A jury drawn from literary experts and acclaimed writers then nominates the winner.
This year, all six shortlised candidates from which the winner will be nominated in March , have chosen to portray the region’s unrest.
‘The Unemployed’, by Nasser Iraq; ‘Toy of fire’ by Bashir Mufti’; ‘The Vagrant, by Jabbour Douaihy; ‘The Druze of Belgrade’ by Rabee Jaber; ‘The Women of al-Basatin’ by Habib Selmi; ‘Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge’ by Ezzedine Choukri Fishere are the titles that will compete for the $50,000 offered for the first place, in addition to the $10,000 they already received for being shortlisted.
While the Egyptian novelist Nasser Iraq tells the story of a young man who moves to Dubai to look for work and finds himself arrested for the murder of a Russian prostitute in ‘The Unemployed’, the Lebanese novelists Rabee Jaber and Jabbour Douaihy examine the troubled history of their homeland. ‘The Vagrant’ is about a young man struggling in a society divided along sectarian lines during the civil war in the 1970s and 80s, while ‘The Druze of Belgrade’ reaches further back to recount the adventures of a group of fighters forced into exile after the 1860 civil war.
All the books contribute to create a vivid portrait of countries constantly struggling with civil unrest.
At its launch, Jonathan Taylor, the IPAF Chairman, said: “I believe that this Prize will reward and bring recognition and readership to outstanding writers in Arabic. I look forward to seeing more high-quality Arabic fiction being accessible to a wider world.”