Barakat wins US$50,000 International Prize for Arabic Fiction
Lebanese author Hoda Barakat has won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) for her epistolary novel, The Night Mail (Dar al-Adab), reports the Bookseller.
Barakat receives US$50,000 (A$70,470) and funding for the English translation of The Night Mail. Oneworld has secured UK rights to the English edition, which is scheduled to appear in 2020.
Barakat’s novel tells the interconnecting stories of its characters, who left Lebanon because of war and the country’s ‘painful past and uncertain future’, through letters written to their relatives in Lebanon. Judging panel chair Charafdine Majdouline said The Night Mail is ‘a highly accomplished novel that stands out for its condensed economy of language, narrative structure, and capacity to convey the inner workings of human beings’.
‘By choosing to use techniques well-known in novel writing, Barakat faced a challenge, but she succeeded in creatively innovating within the tradition to successfully convince the reader,’ said Majdouline.
Barakat is the second woman to win the award, which has been run for 12 years by the Booker Prize Foundation in London and is sponsored by the Abu Dhabi department of culture and tourism.