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International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2019

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is an annual literary prize, which debuted in 2007 in Abu Dhabi, United Arabs of Emirates, with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation. It aims to reward superior contemporary Arabic creative writing and to encourage the readership of high-quality Arabic literature internationally.

A long list of the submitted novels is announced which is followed by a short one, of which the selected works are published after being translated into different languages. 

Each work in the shortlist is rewarded with ten thousand American dollars, in addition to a prize of fifty thousand American dollars for the winning novel.

:The novels nominated for the short list are

1. What fault did you leave? (Mohammed Al-Maazuz)

2. The Night Mail (Hoda Barakat)

3. Cold White Sun (Kafa Al-Zou’bi)

4. Summer with the Enemy (Shahla Ujayli)

5. The Outcast (Inaam Kachachi)

6. The Commandments (Adel Esmat)

The 2019 winning novel is "The Night Mail "by Hoda Barakat from Lebanon. 

“The Night Mail” tells the stories of letter writers. The letters are lost, like the people who have penned them, but each is linked to another and their fates are woven together, like those of their owners. The writers are foreigners, either immigrants by choice or forced by circumstance to leave their countries; exiled and homeless, orphans of their countries with fractured destinies. The novel’s realm is — like the times we live in — one of deep questioning and ambiguity, where boundaries have been erased, and old places and homes lost forever.  

About Barakat is a Lebanese novelist, who was born in Beirut in 1952. She has worked in teaching and journalism and currently lives in France. Barakat has published six novels, two plays, a book of short stories and a book of memoirs. She received the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ in 2002 and the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite National’ in 2008. Her novels include The Stone of Laughter (1990), Disciples of Passion (1993), The Tiller of Waters (2000) which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in that year, and My Master and my Lover (2004). Her fifth novel, The Kingdom of This Earth (2012), reached the IPAF longlist in 2013. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, given (at that time) every two years to honor a writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. Barakat has featured in English in Banipal magazine on several occasions including the publication of excerpts from A Tiller of Water in autumn 2009.