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Habeeblah Olamilekan
Kwara state polytechnic,ilorin
Graduate, Nigeria.
Jokha Alharthi has become the first Arabic
author to win the Man Booker International
prize for her novel “Celestial Bodies” which
reveals her Omani homeland’s post-colonial

“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 U.S. 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

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

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.

source:- thenationonlineng.net/first-arabic-author-wins-man-booker-literature-prize/
First Arabic Author Wins Man Booker Literature Prize - Books/Literature/Writing

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