Al Jazeera reports:
Omani author Jokha Alharthi has become the first Arabic-language writer to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for Celestial Bodies, a novel that deals with family connections and history in the coming-of-age account of three sisters. Ms. Alharthi’s book beat five other shortlisted novels from Europe and South America to take the prize, which celebrates translated fiction from around the world and included a $64,000 award divided equally between author and translator.
“I am thrilled that a window has been opened to the rich Arabic culture,” Ms. Alharthi told reporters. “Oman inspired me but I think international readers can relate to the human values in the book – freedom and love.”
Historian Bettany Hughes, who led the five-member judging panel, said that the winning novel was “a book to win over the head and the heart in equal measure.”
Alharthi’s translator was US academic Marilyn Booth, who teaches Arabic literature at Oxford University.