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MBRF organizes ‘The Reader and the Arabic Fiction’ session to review shortlisted novels for IPAF 2023

22 May 2023 – The ‘Knowledge Lounge,’ one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) initiatives, held an interactive session titled ‘The Reader and the Arabic Fiction,’ in collaboration with the Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, to review and discuss the Arabic novels that were shortlisted for the ‘International Prize for Arabic Fiction’ (IPAF). This session comes as part of the MBRF’s efforts to advance the knowledge movement in the UAE and beyond.

Several reading clubs from the UAE, including ‘Elrewayat Forum,’ ‘Iqra’a,’ ‘Salon Al Muntada,’ ‘Al Multaqa Literary Salon,’ and ‘Knowledge Lounge – Sharjah,’ along with a group of readers from various other book clubs, participated in the session. The MBRF has previously organized many social activities with a cognitive dimension aimed at enriching and revitalizing knowledge in the UAE.

Furthermore, the session was attended by numerous notable figures, such as His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the MBRF, and many literature intellectuals and enthusiasts. His Excellency commended this annual initiative, co-organized by the MBRF and Al Owais Cultural Foundation, which aims to advance knowledge and instill the habit of reading in the community. This, further, sheds light on the beneficial partnerships between educational institutions in the UAE and their objectives, which are in accordance with our wise leadership’s vision to promote reading through launching innovative projects and initiatives.

The session also held various panel discussions on the list of novels that made the IPAF shortlist this year, based on the choices of various reading clubs. These panels included discussions on the novels ‘The Stone of Happiness’ by Azher Jirjees (Iqraa book club), which was moderated by Dr. Maha Shaker, Abduallah Al Shuwaikh, and Hafsa Hariga, along with the novel ‘Concerto Qurina Eduardo’ by Najwa Binshatwan (Knowledge Lounge – Sharjah), which was attended by Lana Al Qattan and Hiba Al Dizdar.

In addition, the session also involved panel discussions on novels such as ‘Drought,’ by author Siddik Hadj-Ahmed (Al Multaqa Literary Salon), which was attended by Asmaa Seddik, Hanady Al Ghazawi, and Saadiya Albadi, as well as ‘The Exile of the Water Diviner’ written by Zahran Alqasmi (Salon Almuntada), which saw the participation of Aysha Sultan and Dr. Maryam Alhashmi. Another panel, which discussed the novel ‘Tales from the Town of Rising Sun’ by Miral al-Tahawy (Knowledge Lounge – Dubai), was attended by Dr. Barwin Habib, Salha Obeid, and Rola al Banna, while the session on the novel ‘The Highest Part of the Horizon’ by Fatima Abdulhamid (Elrewayat Forum) included Dalia Fouad Abu Alaata, Dr. Youssef Hatini, Maysoun Falfal al Sheriff, and Kanana Issa.

The novels presented at the session were addressed separately, highlighting their literary characteristics and elements, as well as the style of writing. Participants outlined the distinguishing characteristics of novels that make them eligible for the IPAF, as each story stems from a diverse world, culture, and background. Dr. Jamal Muqabla, Professor of Modern Literature and Criticism, Department of Arabic Language, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, concluded the session, which was held from 1:00 PM until 6:00 PM, with closing remarks that emphasized the suggestions and comments on all shortlisted novels.

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