Abu Dhabi- Palestinian novelist Rabai al-Madhoun’s “Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba” won the ninth International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The novelist is the first Palestinian to ever win the IPAF, despite him making it to the shortlist in 2010.
Al-Madhoun currently works within Asharq Al-Awsat London-based newspaper team.
The judging panel, which convened yesterday in Abu Dhabi, had announced the IPAF winner, who will be receiving the 50 thousand dollar first place prize and having his novel translated into the English language. Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba is increasingly selling off the shelves and receiving world-wide appreciation.
Al-Madhoun was born in the city of Ashkelon located south of Palestine in 1945. His family left the south during the Nakba in 1948 and headed to Khan Yunis located in the southern Gaza Strip. The IPAF winner had received his higher education in Cairo and Alexandria, and was later banished in 1970 before he could graduate due to his political activism.
Al-Madhoun currently resides in London and works as an editor at Asharq Al-Awast newspaper. He has three published novels alongside a score of works comprising research and trilogies.
“The Lady from Tel Aviv”, another al-Madoun novel, made it to the IPAF shortlist in 2010 and was published in English by Telegram Books. The story’s English translated version received many awards.
“Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba” receiving the IPAF Man Booker Prize this year is split into four parts, each of which follows up with a different concerto. When arriving to the fourth and final composition, the novel begins unfolding and complementing the rest of its chapters intertwiningly answering questions about the Nakba, the holocaust and the Palestinian right of return.
The novel italicizes Palestinians residing in the country suffering the split reality of their existence and facing the Israeli citizenship as a forced truth. The work of literature speaks about Palestinians who have left their country heading towards the greatest exile of all times, and who later on –each on his own account- attempt to return to their occupied homeland.
After winning the IPAF Man Booker Prize, “Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba” is considered to be the best work of literature published over the past 12 months. It has been selected from 159 nominated novels that are published in over 18 Arab countries.