By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, December 12, 2012
For the third time in a row, Morocco has not been long-listed among the Arab countries vying for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Moroccan fiction’s absence in the competition pushed some young Moroccan writers to pose a number of questions, chief of which is: Has literary creativity declined among Moroccan fiction writers? Owing to this unprecedented absence, one might also ask: what is amiss with Moroccan literary works?
While some Moroccan writers and lovers of Moroccan fiction have attributed the absence to the apathy of the Ministry of Culture towards such literary circles, others put the blame on the Eastern publishers for not having any slightest consideration for Moroccan talents. Whatever the reason, Moroccan writers whose works are deemed valuable have recently expressed their disgruntlement about this negligence.
During an interview with the Moroccan daily Al Akhbar, Charaf Eddine Majdoulin, a Moroccan critic, expressed his frustration about Morocco’s absence, explaining that fiction literature in Morocco, has, on the contrary, witnessed a “remarkable improvement over the past few years.” The crux of the matter, the critic added, is that publishing committee in the east does not give any importance to Moroccans’ literary works.
Following the disgruntlement expressed by Moroccan writers, the administration of the Arabic Fiction competition explained that the exclusion of some Arab countries was not related to any political lobbies, but to a specific set of criteria.
“The criteria by which we select participating countries, are not based on the writer’s nationality, color or leanings but rather on the value and beauty of the literary works,” a member of the selection committee was quoted by the daily Al Akhbar as saying.
There are 16 nominees for this year’s edition: 4 Lebanese, 3 Egyptians, 2 Algerians, 2 Iraqis, 1 Tunisian, 1 Saudi, 1 Kuwaiti, 1 Palestinian and 1 Palestinian-Jordanian. Each shortlisted finalist receives $10,000 US Dollars and the winner an additional $50,000 US Dollars.
The winner of the 2012 edition was Lebanese writer Rabee Jaber for his book The Druze of Belgrade.
The announcement of the short-list is set for January 9th, while the award ceremony will take place on April 23, 2013 .