The prominent Saudi Arabian novelist Abdo Khal has won the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (or the Arabic Booker), a prestigious and highly regarded prize for literature. Abdo Khal is an exceptional Saudi Arabian novelist and is considered the most prominent in his country in terms of the material, quality and depth of his texts. He was successful in his sincere and spontaneous narrative of the tragic aspects of Saudi social life. Abdo Khal himself is intrinsically an amazing literary and fictional project.
The skinny man with a hearty laugh but ailing body has always been a strong fighter in his journalistic columns in which he highlights social, cultural and economic issues. He personally encountered systematic attacks at different literary gatherings in the kingdom, and also faced a violent wave of criticism against his literary publications, such as ‘Immorality’ [Fasuq] that achieved big sales, but might be beaten by his most recent book ‘Spewing Sparks as Big as Castles.’ Without doubt, he deserves the prize as he is indeed a distinguished novelist just like other numerous Saudi novelists who prominently featured on the literary scene. However, only a few are distinguished by the “quality” and this includes, for instance, Abdo Khal and Raja Alem.
Abdo Khal’s victory emphasizes the intense Saudi presence on the Arab scene. With its private television channels, online and printed media, Saudi novels are easily achieving the highest sales ever. Saudi singers such as Muhammad Abdo, Rashed al Majed and Abdul Majid Abdullah also achieve high sales. In the religious realm, rational voices can be heard from Saudi Arabia from Salman al Ouda, Aaidh al Qarni, Abdullah Fadaq, Qais al Mubarak, Ahmed Bin Baz and Ahmad al Shuqayri. In the business world, great success stories about SABIC, Aramco, Dallah al Baraka, Al Rajhi, the Bin Laden Group, Abdul Latif al Jameel and others are well known and have become exceptional symbols that transcended national barriers and are easily and rightly welcomed by the entire Arab region.
In the world of medicine, there are many examples of success such as that of Dr. Abdullah al Rabeeah, the champion of separating Siamese twins, and others such as Khawla al Kuraya, Ilham Abduljadayel, Walid Bukhari and others. Saudi accomplishments have also been honoured at radio and television award ceremonies. For instance, Turki al Dakheel’s ‘Idhaat’ talk show was honoured, as the show tackles the most prominent ideas and figures in the Arab region in general and Saudi Arabia in particular, thus bringing many controversial characters out of the dark where they have remained for a long time.
All these events as well as others came as the world acknowledges the weight of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as of its leader and his significant role. Of course this reflects on the Saudi citizen and motivates him to move forward and take on his role actively as he watches his country change and, as a result, the world appreciates, acknowledges, highly values and honours such change caused by the great action in Saudi society.