Hoda Barakat wins the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

This article is also available in: Italiano

The Lebanese author is the second woman to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, the prize for the best book of Arabic fiction. For Hoda Barakat this is the first prize of this type, obtained thanks to “The Nigh Mail”, out in English in 2020.

An effort award

Hoda Barakat has always distinguished herself as one of the most interesting writers and journalists on the Middle Eastern scene. She was born in Bsharre, the hometown of Khalil Gibran in Northern Lebanon, she graduated in 1975 in Beirut in Arabic literature, choosing to remain in the capital even during the civil war. Here, working as a journalist, teacher and interpreter, he will for the first time really come into contact with Lebanese society, which will become central in all his works. In 1989 he will move permanently to Paris where he will start working as a full-time journalist.

Hoda Barakat

His writings focus above all on exile from the motherland and on the difficult relationship of Lebanese society with war, often going to touch uncomfortable characters. In “The Stone of Laughter” (unfortunately not yet translated into Italian), for example, she faces the inner conflict of a homosexual during that difficult historical period, becoming the first Arab writer to bring this type of subject. She this year she finally won the award with “The Night Post”, which will see the light in English in 2020.

Letters and exiles

The book is a collection of 6 letters entrusted to a mysterious postman to be transported to the other side of the ocean. An irregular immigrant who writes to love him, a woman waiting for a man in a hotel, a runaway torturer writes to his mother, a sister who warns her brother of her mother’s death and a young gay man who writes to his father . The characters in this book touch the entire Arab imaginary, highlighting its deep internal problems.

Arabic book prize
“The night mail” by Hoda Barakat

Each of these characters writes to their loved one in a desperate attempt to mend a relationship that now seems doomed to ruin, admitting their failure and seeking some sort of refuge in the latter.

The book will be released in English only in a year, are you ready for this wonderful wait?

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