Mohammed Hassan Alwan Wins 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction with ‘A Small Death’

Alwan’s official website
An interview with Alwan by IPAF organizers
An English-language excerpt from   The Beaver, produced by a translation workshop
A New Generation of Arab Writers: Mohammed Hassan Alwan and Jana Elhassan
9 Questions with Saudi Writer Mohammad Hassan Alwan
Alwan:   Book World Prague was right to honour Saudi Arabia
Short story: “Oil Field,” by   Alwan, trans. Peter Clark


Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrPinterestPocketLike this:Like Loading…‹ Winner of 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction: Previews Before Today’s AnnouncementCategories: Arabic Booker, International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) It follows his mystic experience and heroic travels from Andalusia to Azerbaijan, via Morocco, Egypt, the Hijaz, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. A SMall Death   is his fifth novel; his 2011   The Beaver was shortlisted for 2013 IPAF, and its French translation by Stéphanie Dujols went on to win the 2015 Arab World Institute’s Prix de la Littérature Arabe. He was selected as one of the 39 best Arab authors under the age of 40 by the 2009–10 Beirut 39 project of the Hay Festival and Beirut World Book Capital and his work was published in the   Beirut39   anthology. I often think about this. It has not yet been translated into English, although several of his short stories have been. So, at first, I directly linked it to me feeling nostalgic, then I realised that being exposed to what is seemingly foreign or different is what drives me to reconnect with myself, as well as with my heritage and old culture.”
The other five shortlisted writers were   Libyan novelist Najwa Binshatwan, shortlisted for The Slave Pens; Iraqi novelist Saad Mohammed Raheem, shortlisted for The Bookseller’s Murder; Egyptian novelist Mohammed Abdel Nabi, shortlisted for In the Spider’s Room; Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury, shortlisted for Children of the Ghetto – My Name is Adam; and Kuwaiti novelist Ismail Fahd Ismail, shortlisted for his Al-Sabiliat. Alwan has also written a non-fiction book,   Migration: Theories and Key Factors   (2014). The 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) has gone to Mohamed Hassan Alwan, previously shortlisted for his novel   The Beaver, for his   A Small Death:
A Small Death   follows the life of   the philosopher-poet Ibn ‘Arabi from his birth in Muslim Spain in the 12th century until his death in Damascus, by way of Andalusia, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Egypt, the Hijaz, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. With striking artistry and in captivating language it sheds light on Ibn ‘Arabi’s view of spiritual and temporal love in their most refined forms. In a film organized by the prize, Alwan said, “It might seem odd to choose to write a novel about Ibn ‘Arabi with all those extreme eastern concepts, whilst residing in this distant cold corner of the world in Canada. Judging chair Sahar Khalifeh said, in prepared comments, “A Small Death explores the life and thought of Ibn ‘Arabi. He was invited to join IPAF’s first nadwa (writers’ workshop) in 2009, before becoming a mentor in 2016. The life of Ibn ‘Arabi, the man, evolves and takes shape against the background of a tumultuous historical period filled with wars and conflicts.”
Mohammed Hassan Alwan was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but now lives and works   in Toronto, Canada. A Small Death is a fictional account of the life of Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, from his birth in Muslim Spain in the 12th century until his death in Damascus.