Four Colman Getty’s Katy MacMillan-Scott and Rosie Beaumont-Thomas set off to Muscat, Oman, this month to announce the shortlist of the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).
The six novels were revealed by Chair of judges Amina Thiban, an Emirati poet and academic, at a press conference hosted by The Cultural Club. The shortlist spans from the Levant to the Maghreb, with stories from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco. One of the authors, Shahla Ujayli, writes about a Syrian exile forced to flee Raqqa; she began the book on an IPAF workshop for emerging writers and credits the experience for spurring her on with the novel.
The week of events fostered a valuable new relationship with Oman and the Prize. Katy and Rosie were privileged to accompany hosted visits to Muscat’s various cultural landmarks, including guided tours of the Opera House and the brand new National Museum, representing the second ever British delegation to visit the latter ahead of its opening in April. They also met with the Omani Minister of Information, Abdulmonam Al Hasani. Next stop Abu Dhabi, where the IPAF winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 April, the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.