Congratulations to the Algerian novelist Abdelouahab Aissaoui, whose novel The Spartan Court (2018) was recently announced winner of the International Arab Prize for Fiction! According to Lithub, Aissaoui is the first Algerian author to win the prize.
Aissaoui is one of Algeria’s most prominent writers. His previous novels have won the Katara Novel Prize, the Kuwaiti Suad al-Sabah Novel Prize, the Assia Djebar Prize, and the President of the Republic Prize.
The Spartan Court weaves the stories of five characters living in Algiers between 1815 to 1833. One is a French journalist, another a former soldier in Napoleon’s army; the remaining three are Algerians who each react differently to Ottoman and French colonialism. Hopefully, it will be translated in English soon.
Read an excerpt of The Spartan Court here.
The prize aims to not only “reward excellence in contemporary Arabic creative writing,” but also “to encourage the readership of high quality Arabic literature internationally through the translation and publication of winning and shortlisted novels in other major languages.”
Previous African winners of the prize include Bahaa Taher (Egypt, 2008), Youssef Ziedan (Egypt, 2009), Mohammed Achaari (Morocco, 2011), and Shukri Mabkhout (Tunisia, 2015).