Contenders for 'Arabic Booker' aim for shortlist

A total of 16 books are up to be one of the final half-dozen in the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2010.

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ABU DHABI // Sixteen books are in the running to make the shortlist of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) 2010, it was announced yesterday. Works by authors from 17 countries including the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman were submitted for the competition. However, no UAE piece is among the 16 books up for consideration for the final shortlist. The award, founded in 2007 and often referred to as "the Arabic Booker", showcases the best of contemporary Arabic literature.

Zaki Nusseibeh, an IPAF trustee and the vice chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, said: "The previous two winners - Bahaa Taher [2008], and Youssef Ziedan [this year's winner] - have joined a long list of Arabic literary greats." Joumana Haddad, the IPAF administrator, said: "It is so rewarding to see how the prize is already changing our cultural scene, by increasing book sales and encouraging translations."

The final shortlist and the judges will be announced on December 15. Each of the six authors on the shortlist will receive US$10,000 (Dh36,700), with the winner getting an additional $50,000.