London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), also known as the Arabic Booker Prize, announced its longlist of 16 writers on Tuesday, featuring works from 10 different Arab countries.
Among the well-known names is the Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa for his No Knives in this City’s Kitchen, which was awarded the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in December 2013. Also on the list are the Egyptian Ibrahim Abdelmeguid for his Clouds Over Alexandria, and twice-longlisted Waciny Laredj for his Ashes of the East: The Wolf Who Grew up in the Wilderness.
Four of those selected this year have made it onto the shortlist in the past. These include the Sudanese writer Amir Tag Elsir, Iraqi Inaam Kachachi, Palestinian–Jordanian Ibrahim Nasrallah and Khaled Khalifa.
In a remarkable shift from previous years, the 2014 longlist features two crime novels, Ahmed Mourad’s whodunit bestseller The Blue Elephant, as well as Frankenstein in Baghdad by the Iraqi novelist Ahmed Saadawi.
Morocco, Iraq and Egypt took the lion’s share of this year’s longlist, with three nominations each. For the second year in a row, Kuwaiti authors have made it onto the longlist, following the well-received success of Saud Alsanousi in winning last year’s IPAF prize with The Bamboo Stalk, a work that deals with the question of identity and the controversial phenomenon of foreign workers in Kuwait.
Like 2013, this year’s longlist features only two female writers: Badrya Al-Bishr from Saudi Arabia for her Love Stories on al-Asha Street and Inaam Kachachi from Iraq for her Tashari.
The 16 authors were chosen from a record 156 entries from 18 countries. Six of those will be shortlisted on February 10 in the Jordanian capital of Amman, and the winner will be announced on April 29, one day before the 2014 Abu Dhabi Book Fair begins.
The longlist was selected by an anonymous panel of judges whose names will be revealed along with the shortlist on February 10.
The full list of nominations, in alphabetical order by author’s surname:
• Clouds Over Alexandria by Ibrahim Abdelmeguid (Egyptian), publisher Dar Al-Shorouq
• Love Stories on al-Asha Street by Badrya Al-Bishr (Saudi Arabian), publisher Dar Al-Saqi
• The Bearer of the Purple Rose by Antoine Douaihy (Lebanese), publisher Arab Scientific Publishers
• 366 by Amir Tag Elsir (Sudanese), publisher Arab Scientific Publishers
• A Rare Blue Bird that Flies with Me byYoussef Fadel (Moroccan), publisher Dar Al-Adab
• The Season of Pike Fishing by Ismail Ghazali (Moroccan), publisher Dar al-Ain
• The Phoenix and the Faithful Friend by Ismail Fahd Ismail (Kuwaiti), publisher Arab Scientific Publishers
• Tashari by Inaam Kachachi (Iraqi), publisher Dar Al-Jadid
• No Knives in this City’s Kitchens by Khaled Khalifa (Syrian), publisher Dar Al-Ain
• God’s Land of Exile by Ashraf Al-Khamaisi (Egyptian), publisher Al-Hadara
• Ashes of the East: The Wolf who Grew Up in the Wilderness by Waciny Laredj (Algerian), publisher Al-Jamal
• The Journeys of ‘Abdi, known as Son of Hamriya by Abdelrahim Lahbibi (Moroccan), publisher Africa East
• The Blue Elephant by Ahmed Mourad (Egyptian), publisher Dar Al-Shorouq
• The Edge of the Abyss by Ibrahim Nasrallah (Jordanian–Palestinian), publisher Arab Scientific Publishers
• The Sad Night of Ali Baba by Abdel Khaliq Al-Rikabi (Iraqi), publisher The Arab Institute for Research and Publishing
• Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Iraqi), publisher Al-Jamal