Frankenstein in Baghdad announced as the winner of 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Abu dhabi - Alhdhod - Frankenstein in
Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
was tonight, Tuesday 29 April 2014,
announced as the winner of the seventh International Prize
for Arabic Fiction.
Saadawi was named by this year’s Chair of
Judges, Saad A. Albazei, at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

 addition to winning $50,000, Ahmed Saadawi is
 guaranteed an English translation of his novel, as well as
 increased book sales and international recognition.  Set in the
 spring of 2005, Frankenstein in Baghdad tells the
 story of Hadi al-Attag, a rag-and-bone man who lives in a
 populous district of Baghdad. He takes the body parts of
 those killed in explosions and sews them together to create
 a new body. The body is entered by a displaced soul,
 bringing it to life. Hadi calls the being
 ‘the-what's-its-name,’ while the authorities name it
 ‘Criminal X’ and others refer to it as
 ‘Frankenstein’. Frankenstein begins a campaign of
 revenge against those who killed him, or killed those whose
 parts make up his body. Ahmed Saadawi is an Iraqi
 novelist, poet and screenwriter. Born in 1973 in Baghdad,
 where he works as a documentary film maker, he took part in
 the annual IPAF ‘Nadwa’ or literary workshop for
 promising young writers in 2012.Frankenstein in Baghdad
 was selected as the best work of
 fiction published within the last 12 months, selected from
156 entries from 18 countries across the Arab World. On
 behalf of the 2014 judging panel, Saad A. Albazei
  ‘We chose
 Frankenstein in Baghdad for several reasons.
 Firstly for the originality of its narrative structure, as
 represented in the 'what's-its-name' character,
 who embodies the violence currently experienced in Iraq, other Arab countries and the wider
 world. The story is expertly told on several levels and from
 multiple viewpoints.
  ‘For these reasons and more, Frankenstein
 in Baghdad is a significant addition to contemporary
 Arabic fiction.’  The five
 other shortlisted finalists were also honoured at the
 ceremony alongside the winner; each of the finalists,
 including the winner, receives $10,000.
  The six names on the shortlist were announced
 in February, at a press conference at the Abdul Hameed
 Shoman Foundation in Amman, Jordan, by the judging panel.
 The judges  are: Chair of judges, the Saudi Arabian
> academic and critic Saad A. Albazei; Ahmed Alfaitouri,
 Libyan journalist, novelist and playwright; Zhor Gourram,
 Moroccan academic, critic and novelist; Abdullah Ibrahim,
 Iraqi academic and critic and Mehmet Hakki Suçin, Turkish
 academic specialising in the teaching of Arabic language and
 the translation of Arabic literature into
 The Prize is supported by the Booker Prize
 Foundation in London and funded by the TCA Abu Dhabi in the
 UAE.  Professor
 of Modern Arabic Studies Yasir Suleiman, Chair of the Board
 of IPAF Trustees, comments: ‘Ahmed Saadawi's
 Frankenstein in Baghdad is an outstanding
 achievement, teeming with characters who are both
 earthy and real but also transcend reality. It raises
 questions about an oppressive legacy from which neither
 individuals nor society can escape. The novel dazzles with
 captivating storytelling, utilising the techniques of
 magical realism to reveal the depths of the human soul in
 its darkest hours. Although set in Baghdad, its subject
 matter goes beyond that city to embrace humanity
 everywhere.’      To date,
 six of the seven winning IPAF novels have secured deals for
 publication in English. Overall, winning and shortlisted
 books since 2008 have been translated into over 20

Wednesday, April 30th 2014
Abu dhabi - Alhdhod

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