Literary News from the Middle East and Asia

A late-season bout of flu has made me remiss in following up on the results of two distinguished literary awards, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and the Man Asian.

Two days ago in Abu Dhabi, Lebanese writer Rabee Jaber was honored with the 2012 Arabic Fiction Prize for The Druze of Belgrade, a novel of exile following the civil war in Lebanon in the 1860s.

The press release announcing the award notes that the judges “praised the novel for its powerful portrayal of the fragility of the human condition through the evocation of a past historical period in highly sensitive prose.”

Ever since blogging about this literary prize, I’ve been trying to add several of the short-listed books to my reading list, and Jaber’s is one of them. However, I’ve had a tough time trying to find the book, which isn’t available through the public library system, on or on Amazon’s U.K. site, where I often go in search of hard-to-find books. I hope this distinction will give a higher profile to The Druze of Belgrade and make it more easily available. If you’re able to find it, I and other readers would be grateful if you’d share the source in the Comments.

For more information about Jaber and his latest novel and the other short-listed authors, visit the International Prize for Arabic Fiction website.

The Man Asian Literary Prize was awarded on March 15 to Kyung-sook Shin for her wonderful Please Look After Mom. This book is available at public libraries and at booksellers, and I highly recommend it (here’s my review of this and other books from the Man Asian short list).

To link to a BBC World Service interview with Kyung-sook Shin, visit the Man Asian Literary Prize website.

2 thoughts on “Literary News from the Middle East and Asia

  1. Hi Rita,

    So glad you enjoyed “Please Look After Mom.” I really enjoyed it and found the details of farming life in the countryside of South Korea fascinating, too!

  2. Hi Vickie,

    I was able to secure a copy of Please Look After Mom via interlibrary loan and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the insight shown by the husband and children of the missing woman and I realized that I, too, have taken my mom’s many sacrifices for granted. Kyung-sook Shin speaks eloquently of family dynamics and regrets in this story. Thanks for recommending the book!

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