BEIRUT: The fourth edition of the Al-Tayeb Salih International Award for Creative Writing has been announced in Khartoum, with prizes awarded for authors working in three genres: the novel, theater and the short story. Syria’s Tawfiqa Khaddour was lauded for her novel “I Will Revive the Moon.” The author dedicated her win to the Syrian people.
Morocco’s Zakaria Abu Maria was awarded for his play “Season of Return to the North,” while Egypt’s Ashraf Abdel-Rahman was honored for his short story “The Secret life of Abdo the Barber.”
The Salih awards were presented at a ceremony Thursday before an audience of writers and diplomats at Khartoum’s Abdul Karim Mirghani Cultural Center. The three first-place prizes are worth $10,000 apiece.
In the novel category, second- and third-place prizes, of $7,000 and $5,000 each, went, respectively, to Sudanese writer Ali Ahmad Rifai for his work “The Windows of the Other Face” and Algerian author Ahmad Tibawi for his work “Soft Death.”
The second- and third-place awards for short story went to Egypt’s Ibrahim Saad for “Summer Rain” and Sudan’s Amir Jebril for “Great King Dying.”
Among the playwrights, second- and third-place prizes went to Jordan’s Sobhi Fahmawi for his “Hatem the Mommy” and Syria’s Hussam Mohammad for his play “Schizophrenia.”
The secretary-general of the competition, Majzoob Aidaroos, said submissions were received from the region and around the world, with the most entries coming from Sudan, followed by Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.
He noted that the number of entries for the prize’s short-story competition surpassed all other categories. Some 587 entries were received in all, with 317 short stories, 178 novels and 91 plays.
The award commemorates the renowned Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih, whose novel “Season of Migration to the North” was selected as being among the 100 greatest books in the history of the world. One of the most respected Arab novelists of the 20th century, Salih died in 2009 in London, where he spent most of his life.
The annual event is organized by the Zain-Sudan telecommunications company. Zain’s managing director, air force Lt. Gen. Al-Fatih Erwa, said that by honoring pioneering authors and encouraging young writers, the company continues to support literature and the arts.
Jury member professor Said Yaqtin, from Morocco, said the group noticed special creativity and described the winners as representing “the future of literature.”