‘Award to propel Arab writers to world fame’

DUBAI — The International Prize for Arabic Fiction will go a long way in helping writers in Arabic language achieve international fame, Omar Saif Ghobash, Deputy CEO of the Emirates Foundation has said.

By Omer Zakieldin

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Published: Thu 26 Apr 2007, 8:45 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:44 AM

Emirates Foundation (EF), a philanthropic organisation based in Abu Dhabi, announced the launch the Arabic fiction award, the first of its kind, earlier this month. The literary award will be partnered by Booker Prize Foundation, the renowned British institution.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Ghobash said: “We know that the West is interested in the works of Arab writers. We saw an opportunity to get these works translated and then published for the non-Arab readers. The Booker Prize Foundation has excellent contacts in the publishing industry and it made perfect sense for us to launch this award.”

Ghobash said the involvement of the Booker Prize Foundation would help the new Arabic fiction award achieve international acclaim, besides generating a much wider readership for the Arab writers.

Talking about the eligibility for the prize, the Deputy CEO of EF said, “this award is open to people of all nationalities as long as they write in Arabic. There is some sort of vetting process whereby authors need to be already published. However, in future, we have plans to include writers whose works are yet to be published.” Ghobash made it clear that the focus was on quality, and not the background of the writers.

The inaugural International Prize for Arabic Fiction is set for February 2008.

While each of the five short-listed authors, out of all the entries, will win $10,000, the winner will take home $50,000 as the cash prize.

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