Winner will be announced in Abu Dhabi in April
The shortlist for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (known as the Arabic Booker) includes authors Sinan Antoon, Jana Elhassan, Mohammed Hassan Alwan, Ibrahim Issa, Saud Alsanousi and Hussein al-Wad.
This year's shortlist reveals a number
of themes currently at the heart of the Arab world; religious extremism; a lack of tolerance and rejection of "the other". Themes include the void between thought and action in the contemporary Arab character; Arab women's frustration and the inability to break through social barriers and the exposure of religious, moral and political hypocrisy and corruption.
The 2013 judges will be: Egyptian academic and writer Galal Amin (Chair); Lebanese academic and critic Sobhi al-Boustani; head of the Arab Cartoonists' Association Ali Ferzat, owner and chief editor of independent Syrian daily newspaper Al-Domari; Polish academic and Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Krakow, Barbara Michalak-Pikulska, and Zahia Smail Salhi; and Professor of Classical and Modern Arabic Literature and Gender Studies at Manchester University.
The shortlisted works are:
Ave Maria [Ya Mariam] by Iraqi Sinan Antoon [published by Iraqi Al-Jamal] I, She and Other Women [Ana wa heya wal okhrayat] by Lebanon's Jana Elhassan [Arab Scientific Publishers] The Beaver [al-Qandas] by Saudi Mohammed Hassan Alwan [Dar al-Saqi] Our Master [Maulana] by Egyptian Ibrahim Issa [ Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation] The Bamboo Stick [Saq al-bamboo] by Kuawiti Saud Alsanousi [ Arab Scientific Publishers] and His Excellency the Minister [Saadatahu siyadatel wazir] Hussein Al-Wad Tunisian Dar al-Janub Jonathan Taylor, the chair of the board of trustees said, "We're delighted to welcome and honour six new writers for the prize. Their works have been selected by our judges for their outstanding quality and it is a great pleasure to be able to bring them to the attention of a wider Arabic audience and, in due course, to an international readership."
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on April 23, on the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The winning novel will be translated into English.