The six shortlisted authors at the award ceremony in May 2015: (l to r) Ahmed el-Madini (Willow Alley), Jana Elhassan (Floor 99), Shukri Mabkhout (The Italian), Lina Hawyan Elhassan (Diamonds and Women), Hammour Ziada (The Longing of the Dervish), Atef Abu Saif (A Suspended Life)
dividual character who, rather than being pre-conceived, clearly developed during the act of writing.
“The novel brilliantly depicts the unrest both of the small world of its characters and the larger one of the nation, as well as exploring themes of personal desire, the establishment, violation and opportunism. Whilst it lifts the lid on Tunisian society, the book may also surprise many of its Arab readers who may recognise aspects of their societies in its pages too. Gripping the reader from the first line to the last, The Italian is a work of art and an important contribution to Tunisian, and Arab, literary fiction.”
The five other shortlisted finalists were also honoured at the ceremony alongside the winner; each of the finalists, including the winner, received $10,000.
The six names on the shortlist were announced in February 2015, Casablanca, at the Casablanca International Book Fair, by the judging panel. For more information go to www.arabicfiction.org.
216 BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015
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