Jokha Alharthi on Tuesday became the first Arabic author to win the Man Booker International prize for her novel “Celestial Bodies” which reveals her Omani homeland’s post-colonial transformation.
“I am thrilled that a window has been opened to the rich Arabic culture,” Alharthi, 40, told reporters after the ceremony at the Roundhouse in London.
Alharthi is the author of two previous collections of short fiction, a children’s book and three novels in Arabic.
She studied classical Arabic poetry at Edinburgh University and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.
“Oman inspired me but I think international readers can relate to the human values in the book — freedom and love,” she said.
The prestigious 50,000-pound (57,000 euro, $64,000) prize, which celebrates translated fiction from around the world, is divided equally between the author and the translator.
Alharthi’s translator was US academic Marilyn Booth, who teaches Arabic literature at Oxford University.
The judges said Celestial Bodies was “a richly imagined, engaging and poetic insight into a society in transition and into lives previously obscured”.
It is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who is waiting for her beloved who has emigrated to Canada.
The three sisters witness Oman’s evolution from a traditional, slave-owning society.
“It touches the subject of slavery. I think literature is the best platform to have this dialogue,” Alharthi said.
The jury said: “Elegantly structured and taut, it tells of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves”.
The Guardian said it offers “glimpses into a culture relatively little known in the west” and The National said it signalled “the arrival of a major literary talent”, calling the book “a densely woven, deeply imagined tour de force”.
Jury chair Bettany Hughes said the novel showed “delicate artistry and disturbing aspects of our shared history”.
“The style is a metaphor for the subject, subtly resisting cliches of race, slavery and gender,” she said.
Alharthi was up against five other shortlisted authors: France’s Annie Ernaux, Germany’s Marion Poschmann, Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk, Colombia’s Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Chile’s Alia Trabucco Zeran.
Bill Maher demands we bring back ‘confession signs’ for people like Sean Hannity and Vladimir Putin
The host of "Real Time" on HBO said it is time to bring back "confession signs" for people to publicly confess their sins.
Bill Maher noted a news story of a mother who made her daughter hold a sign reading "I lied" while standing by a busy intersection.
Maher imaged in catching on.
He showed a photoshopped image of Fox News pesonality Sean Hannity holding a sign reading, "When Trump farts, I say 'that was me.'"
He showed an image of Sen. Lindsy Graham (R-SC) holding a sign reading, "I'm straight."
Melania Trump's sign read, "my secret plan is that, in the end, I will sit on the Iron Throne."
HBO ‘Real Time’ panelist reveals the nasty slur conservatives are saying about the first Republican to back impeachment
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) was the first Republican member of Congress to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump -- and some MAGA supporters have not forgiven him.
On HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher on Friday
"It's sad when a Republican like Justin Amash is making a more principled case for impeachment than the Democratic Party," conservative Charlie Sykes argued.
"The lone one, the Maytag repairman of Republicans," Maher said.
"He's getting called a cuck by all people who are the 'originalists' and the constitutional conservatives," Bari Weiss noted. "It's their favorite insult."
BUSTED: Ex-GOP state chairman was arrested — for the second time in two weeks
On Friday, Idaho GOP chairman Jonathan Parker, who stepped down prior to being arrested for stalking, was arrested again. This time Parker was arrested for trespassing.
"Officers made contact with that man and identified him as Parker. Further investigation revealed that there is an active protection order between Parker and a woman living nearby — his estranged wife — and Parker was then arrested and charged with felony stalking. During his arraignment, the judge issued a issued a no-contact order, which bars Parker from getting within 500 feet of his wife," a report from the Idaho Statesman said.