Judges

  • Abdo Wazen

  • Born in Beirut in 1957, Abdo Wazen is a poet and cultural editor of the international daily Al-Hayat. He published his first collection of poems in 1982 (The Locked Forest), and since then has brought out six others. Copies of his book Hadiqat al-Hawas (Garden of Sensation, 1993) were seized by the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior on accusations of licentiousness. In 1997 his translation of Jacques Prevert: 50 Poems was published by Dar An-Nahar. He later translated and introduced Nadia Twueni: 20 Poems for a Love. Diwan al-Hallaj, edited and introduced by Abdo Wazen, is also highly regarded.

  • Saif al-Rahbi

  • Saif al-Rahbi is a poet and prose writer, born in 1956 in Sroor, a village in Oman. He was sent to school in Cairo when a young boy, and there began his lifelong passion for literature and poetry. He has lived and worked in Cairo, Damascus, Algeria and Paris for many years, as well as London and other Arab and European cities. His third poetry collection Ajras al-Qatia’a (The Bells of Rapture), published in 1985 when he was living in Paris, and marked him as “one of the most distinguished new poetic voices in the Gulf region”. Later, he returned to Oman and founded Nizwa, Oman’s main quarterly cultural magazine which is highly regarded throughout the Arab world. Today he is its editor-in-chief. He has published a number of volumes of poetry, prose and essays.

  • Alawiya Sobh

  • Alawiya Sobh was born in Beirut in 1955. She studied Arabic and English Literature at the Lebanese National University in Beirut. After graduating in 1978, Sobh worked as a high school teacher while publishing articles in the arts and culture section of  Nida’, a Beirut daily. In the early eighties, she published fiction, poetry and literary reviews in the leading Beirut daily An-Nahar. She was editor of the cultural section of the most widely-read Arabic women’s magazine at that time, Al-Hasnaa’, and in 1986 became its editor-in-chief. In the early 1990s she founded Snob Al-Hasnaa’, the best-selling women’s cultural magazine in the Arab world today, and remains its editor-in-chief. Sobh participates regularly in cultural conferences throughout the Arab world and appears as a guest speaker on television programmes addressing issues related to women, war and modernity in Lebanon and the Arab world. Her novel Maryam al-Hakaya (Maryam of the Stories, Dar al-Adab, 2002), of which an excerpt was published in Banipal (issue no. 17), was acclaimed as a novel of epic dimensions, and provoked numerous articles by literary critics and writers throughout the Arab world.

  • dr gaber asfour
  • Dr Gaber Asfour

  • Honorary President. Gaber Asfour has been a professor at several Arab, European and American universities, and is a former President of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture. He is currently at the head of the recently established National Translation Foundation in Cairo, and he plays a major role in the dissemination of Arab culture worldwide. His highly original literary criticism has gained international recognition. A champion of intercultural dialogue, he has promoted values such as women’s rights, respect for others, creative diversity and tolerance.

Announcement from the judges on the selection of the final 39 authors

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