WEFOUNDArabic Authors (Great Classics Series)


The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is an annual literary prize run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation

All general enquiries, including those regarding submissions, should be directed to Fleur Montanaro, Prize Administrator:

A young Algerian on the make becomes disillusioned with westernised morality and joins a violent Islamist group. In turn he sees through the corruption and bloodthirstiness of the group's actions. A tormenting portrayal of the suffocating lack of options available to poor Arabs. Khadra (the pen-name of a former Algerian military officer) lives in exile in France. 

Spain 1499. A novel set in a disappeared Arab world. In the final days of the Muslim kingdom of Andalus, Ali's characters feel overwhelmed by encroaching Christian intolerance. He seems to mark it as the moment when the flowering of medieval Islamic culture shifted onto the stultifying road that leads to bin Laden, and when the west began the imperialistic, racist expansion that would converge so devastatingly with that path in the last decade.

The first of the Egyptian Nobel laureate's Cairo Trilogy. Set amid the political unrest against British rule at the end of the first world war, it's a marvellous evocation of the repressive, patriarchal nature of the traditional Arab family – and the secrets family members keep in order to have their fun or defy their father's authority.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is an annual literary prize run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation

All general enquiries, including those regarding submissions, should be directed to Fleur Montanaro, Prize Administrator:

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is an annual literary prize run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation

All general enquiries, including those regarding submissions, should be directed to Fleur Montanaro, Prize Administrator:

A young Algerian on the make becomes disillusioned with westernised morality and joins a violent Islamist group. In turn he sees through the corruption and bloodthirstiness of the group's actions. A tormenting portrayal of the suffocating lack of options available to poor Arabs. Khadra (the pen-name of a former Algerian military officer) lives in exile in France. 

Spain 1499. A novel set in a disappeared Arab world. In the final days of the Muslim kingdom of Andalus, Ali's characters feel overwhelmed by encroaching Christian intolerance. He seems to mark it as the moment when the flowering of medieval Islamic culture shifted onto the stultifying road that leads to bin Laden, and when the west began the imperialistic, racist expansion that would converge so devastatingly with that path in the last decade.

The first of the Egyptian Nobel laureate's Cairo Trilogy. Set amid the political unrest against British rule at the end of the first world war, it's a marvellous evocation of the repressive, patriarchal nature of the traditional Arab family – and the secrets family members keep in order to have their fun or defy their father's authority.

And yet the Arab world is not overwhelmed. There are protests, conferences, strikes, study groups, campaigning societies - and an upsurge of artistic activity. Politics, economics, religion, tradition, modernity and post-modernity are - in various forms - under discussion everywhere. Nowhere more than in literature.

Despite all the political and economic problems Egypt is going through, independent publishing houses are experiencing a real awakening, which began six years ago with the publication of The Yacoubian Building. The success of Alaa al-Aswany's novel started a new era which can't be ignored, either by those who loved the novel or by those who hated it, as it disproved claims that Arabs aren't great readers and that young people are attracted by media other than books.

The success of publishing houses such as Sharqiat, and subsequently Merit, in reaching these readers has encouraged a lot of young investors. Al Dar, Al Ain, Malamih and others are betting on the authors who are now such celebrities that you regularly see their pictures on Facebook. This has led to unorthodox methods (for Egypt) of promoting books, such as individual publishers creating Facebook groups, possibly without them fully understanding that word-of-mouth marketing really depends on readers spreading the word themselves.


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