This week, a group of eight emerging Arab authors gathered in Sharjah to take part in the International Prize for Arabic Fiction’s annual Nadwa. The workshop, which ran from 8th to 15th January, brought together writers from Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Syria and the UAE. The workshop was sponsored by the Department of Culture — Sharjah Government and took place at the Marbella Resort.
This year’s Nadwa was led by two mentors including acclaimed writer of Arabic literature: Iman Humaydan, Lebanese novelist, researcher, and President of PEN Lebanon; and Muhsin Al-Ramli, twice IPAF longlisted Iraqi-Spanish writer, poet and academic. This week the English translation by Luke Leafgren of Al-Ramli’s novel, The President’s Gardens, won the 2018 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.
The eight participating writers range in age from 25 to 48 years old and were identified by IPAF as emerging talents, following an application process. The workshop, which aims to hone their writing skills, involved daily group discussions as well as the opportunity for one-on-one guidance with mentors. The group also attended the 17th Sharjah Arabic Poetry Festival where they met His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.