IPAF 2015: Judging Panel

Mourid Barghouti

Mourid Barghouti (Chair)is an award-winning Palestinian poet and writer. He has produced 12 volumes of poetic works, the first published in 1972 and the last in 2005. His poetry has been translated into many other languages and won him the Palestine Award for Poetry in 2000. He is also the author of two novels: I Saw Ramallah (2003) and I Was Born There, I Was Born Here (2011). I Saw Ramallah won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal in 1997 and was translated into several languages, including English, with an introduction written by Edward Said. He has written articles of literary criticism on poetry and prose and delivered lectures on Arabic literature at several Arab and international universities.

Ayman A. El-Desouky

Ayman A. El-Desouky is an Egyptian academic and the Founding Chair of the Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS, 2009-2012) at SOAS, University of London, where he has been lecturing on Modern Arabic and Comparative Literature since 2002. He is also co-founder of a pioneering programme in Global English Literary Studies (launched 2014). El-Desouky has lectured on World Literature and American Literature at the University of Texas at Austin (1993-1995), on Arabic Language and Literature at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University (1995-1996), where he founded a new programme in Arabic Language and Literature, and at Harvard University (1996-2002). He is a member of the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA) and the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA). He has lectured widely on hermeneutics, comparative literature and literary theory in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.


His most recent publications include: The Intellectual and the People in Egyptian Literature and Culture: Amāra and the 2011 Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Between Hermeneutic Provenance and Textuality: The Qur’an and the Question of Method in Approaches to World Literature, Journal of Qur’anic Studies, 16.3 (2014); and “Heterologies of Revolutionary Action: On Historical Consciousness and the Sacred in Mahfouz’s Children of the Alley”, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 47.4 (September 2011). He is currently preparing a long monograph on Figuring the Sacred in the Modern Arabic Novel for Edinburgh University Press.

Parween Habib

Parween Habib is a Bahraini poet, critic and media expert. She has overseen specialist training for Dubai Media Incorporated and helped to launch highly successful cultural dialogue programmes, the first of their kind in the Gulf. In 2011, she won the Dynamic Women Prize awarded by The George Washington University, the first international prize to be given to successful and inspiring women from around the globe. Her story was studied by students of the university on one of the world’s largest online networks. She is the author of two critical works and three poetry collections and her poetry has been translated into seven languages. She obtained an MA (with distinction) in Literary Criticism, focusing on the poetic style of Nizar Qabbani, from Ain Shams University, Cairo, and a PhD (with distinction) in Literary Criticism: a study of the language of women's poetry in the Gulf (1975-2004), from the Arab League University, Egypt. Her book on Techniques of Expression in the Poetry of Nizar Qabbani is part of the Arabic language curriculum at secondary school level in Bahrain. Habib is a member of the committee for modernising methods of teaching the Arabic language, an initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. She writes a weekly article for Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper and a monthly article for the Dubai Cultural magazine. She has conducted televised interviews with 500 Arab novelists, poets and thinkers. Her poetry collections include: Your Scared Masculinity, my Paper Childhood (2001), I Gave the Mirror my Back (2009), The Butterfly (2012), and a book of prose entitled: Lace/Less than the Desert (2010).

Najim A. Kadhim

Najim A. Kadhim is an Iraqi critic and academic, born in Iraq in 1951. He obtained his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Exeter (UK) in 1984. He has since taught there as a visiting lecturer, and has also taught at universities in Iraq, Libya, Jordan and Oman. He currently teaches Critical Theory, Modern Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of Baghdad’s College of Arts. His special area of interest is 'The Other in modern Arabic literature.'


Among his published works are: The Problem of Dialogue in the Arabic Novel (2004), winner of the 2003 Rashid Bin Humaid Award in the UAE; The Other in Modern Arabic Poetry (2010), winner of the 2010 YBA Kanoo Award in Bahrain; Icons of Delusion: the Arab Critic and Problematics of Modern Criticism (2011), longlisted for the 2014 Sheikh Zayed Book Award; Us and the Other in the Contemporary Arabic Novel (2013), winner of the 2014 Arab Creativity Award given by the Arab Thought Foundation in Lebanon; Encyclopedia of the Iraqi Novel 1919-2014 (2015).   

Kaoru Yamamoto

Kaoru Yamamoto is a Japanese academic, translator and researcher. Having received her PhD in Literature from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, she lectures in Arabic language, literature and culture at several Japanese universities. She has published many articles on both classical and modern Arabic literature, and has translated many works, including those of Emile Habiby, Rashid al-Daif and Abdul Rahman al-Abnudi, into Japanese. She was previously a research associate of the Research and Educational Project for Middle East and Islamic Studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Here she took charge of the translation team, which focuses on Arabic daily papers, and published a textbook on the translation of Media Arabic into Japanese.

About the Prize

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) is an annual literary prize run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London and...

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How the Prize Works

The Prize is managed by an independent Board of Trustees representing an international mix of writers, experts in Arabic literature and...

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