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Sinan Antoon, Iraqi novelist who lives in the USA, recently won the fifth edition of the Arabic Literature Prize (Prix de la Littérature Arabe), which is organised by the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation and the Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe) in Paris. Two of Antoon’s novels were nominated for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), in which eight novels translated from Arabic into French or published in French competed.

The jury, chaired by Pierre Leroy, selected Antoon’s ‘Seul le Grenadier,’ translated into English as ‘The Corpse Washer’ because “it is a crushing novel which puts readers in the heart of the Iraqi tragedy and crawls into their conscience. Each reader can find themselves inside the novel which juxtaposes life and death, reality and imagination, hope and despair.”

The shortlisted novels also included ‘La Fille de Souslov’ (Suslov’s Daughter) by Yemini author Habib Abdulrab Sarori; ‘Cinquante Grammes de Paradis’ (The Weight of Paradise) by Lebanese author Iman Humaydan; ‘Un Oiseau Bleu et Rare Vole avec Moi’ (A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me) by Morrocan novelist Youssef Fadel; ‘Une Femme sans Écriture’ (A Women without Writing) by Tunisian writer Saber Mansouri; ‘LÉffacement’ (Erasure) by Algerian author Samir Toumi; ‘Mourir est un Enchantement’ (Death Is an Enchantment) by Moroccan novelist Yasmine Chami; and ‘Pas de Couteaux dans les Cuisines de Cette Ville’ (No Knives in the Kitchens of this City) by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa.

The €10,000 Arab Literature Prize was awarded to Lebanese writer, Jabbour Douaihy for his novel ‘Saint Georges Regardait Ailleurs’ (St George was Looking Elsewhere); Iraqi author Inaam Kachachi for her novel ‘Dispersés’ (Tashari); Egyptian writer Mohammed al-Fakharany for his novel ‘La Traversée du K. O.’ (The Crossing of KO) and Saudi novelist Mohammed Hasan Alwan for his novel ‘Le Castor’ (The Beaver).