Not having had the privilege of learning Arabic (I’m British – my generation were brought up believing English was the only language you’d ever need) I’m ever grateful for the daily dose of English-language insights into the Arabic literature scene that is the website ArabLit, run by Marcia Lynx Qualey, and the cornerstone of my day-to-day knowledge of the Arab literary world.

Take for example the news that Ameer Hamad (a contributor to ArabLit Quaterly) had collected $4,000 for winning the Qattan Foundation’s 2019 Young Writer of the Year award in the short-story category, and shared the prize with Taghreed Abdel Al in the poetry category.

The awards are open to Palestinian writers aged 22-35, writing in Arabic.

From ArabLit we learn that,

Mowafaq Abu Hamdiya took the novel category for حصرم مر (Sour Grapes):

Taghreed Abdel Al co-won the poetry prize for her collection العشب بين طريقين (The Grass Between Two Paths), which she shares with Ameer Hamad’s بحثت عن مفاتيحهم في الأقفال (I Searched for Their Keys in the Locks). Hamad also won the short-story category with his جيجي وأرنب علي (Gigi and Ali’s Rabbit).

The poetry judges, ArabLit reports,

considered 32 collections composed by young Palestinian writers from around the world. Several other collections were commended, including one by Kamel Muhammad Kamel Yassin, Alaa Mamoun Odeh, Hiba B’irat, and Ahmed Abu Awad.

The jury of the novel prize,

looked at 27 different novels, and also commended novels by Fakhri Taha, Sarah Abu Ghazal, Hana Osama Salman Ahmed, Omnia Abu Swireh, and Mustafa Akram Mustafa Badr.

The short-story category judges,

considered 26 collections and commended Ameer Hamad’s great promise. They also commended collections by Shorouk Muhammad Doghmash, Hiba B’irat, Alaa Mahmoud Odeh, and Amr Naim Al-Masry.

More about the Qattan Foundation here.

Read more, and subscribe to ArabLit, here.