Arabic sci-fi and other literary revolutions


Once a tiny minority in Arabic literature, science fiction, horror and thrillers are getting a boost: Al Jazeera

At the end of April, the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) turned seven years old. That’s when the prize named its eighth winner: the acclaimed Frankenstein in Baghdad, by Iraqi author Ahmed Saadawi.

As is tradition, Saadawi’s win was announced on the eve of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which ran from April 29-May 5. This year’s announcement was met by cheers in the Hilton ballroom and echoingdelight across social media. Saadawi was the first Iraqi to take the prize and fellow Iraqis were particularly happy. When the fair opened the next morning, copies of the winning novel sold briskly.

But copies of the IPAF-shortlisted No Knives in the Kitchens of This City, which didn’t win the prize, began to sell perhaps even more briskly. That’s after rumours that Khaled Khalifa’s novel, which was available for purchase at the fair, had been banned from further sale in the UAE.

Khalifa’s Egypt-based publisher, Fatma al-Boudy, confirmed that copies of No Knives could not be sold in the Emirates.

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