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Thriving Response for First Al-Multaqa Prize Competition with 189 Short Story Collections from 15 Countries

  AUK President, Dr. Hamzah: The successful turnout for the Al-Multaqa prize solidifies Kuwait's standing amongst other prestigious Arabic competitions.
AUK Vice President, Amal Al-Binali: Our efforts are dedicated to the community, and our next step is to translate the winning collection for other readers and publishers.

AUK announced that it has received 189 collections of short stories and named the jurors for the 2015-2016 Al-Multaqa Prize for Arabic Short Stories. The Prize was launched in December 2015 by AUK, in partnership with the Cultural Circle's Founder and Manager, Mr. Taleb Al-Rifae. The number of submissions were received during a 3-month submission window (from 1 January, 2016, until 31 March, 2016) from published authors of Arabic short stories from 15 different countries.

AUK President, Dr. Nizar Hamzah, was impressed by the enthusiasm in which the Prize received. "The overwhelming response to the Prize was a source of pride and happiness for us given the significance of solidifying Kuwait's position amongst other prestigious Arabic competitions. The positive response is also a testament to the liveliness of the Arabic creative literary community which deserves to be further encouraged by a distinguished prize. The Prize draws our attention to the thirst that Arabic writers have for a competition that acknowledges the significance of their creative work, in addition to the confidence that Arabic writers and publishers have bestowed on the Prize during its first round, which poses great pride and appreciation," he said.

AUK's Vice President and Prize Secretary, Ms. Amal Al-Binali, explained that the Prize began accepting submissions from 1 January, 2016, until 31 March, 2016 via AUK's website.

Al-Binali added that during the three month submission period, AUK has received an overwhelming number of Arabic short stories; 189. "The number of submissions received indicates the scope to which the Prize aspired for in the genre of Arabic short stories, with authors embracing its unique impact on the Arabic literary world. By translating the winning collection to English, and possibly other languages, there will be further appreciation for Arabic literature throughout the world," she said.

Al-Binali reveals the submission statistics as follows:
  • Total Short Story Collections: 189
  • Collections Submitted by Authors: 170
  • Collections Submitted by Publishers: 19
  • Submissions by Female Authors: 59
  • Submissions by Male Authors: 130

Al-Binali also added that submissions have been received from 15 countries. The following countries are listed by highest number of submissions received:

Egypt (84)
Morocco (14)
Syria (13)
Saudi Arabia (11)
Iraq (10)
Jordan (9)
Yemen (9)
Algeria (7)
Sudan (7)
Palestine (6)
Lebanon (6)
Oman (4)
Tunis (3)
Kuwait (3)
Libya (3)

Al-Binali expressed that the enthusiasm to participate was most evident among Egyptian authors, whose submissions make 44% of total submissions. She also noted that 31.2% of authors were female, which indicates a significant presence and activeness of female writers in the Arab world, where they play a crucial part in Arabic literature.

Professor Dr. Hamzah affirmed that the American University of Kuwait is dedicated to its partnership with the Cultural Circle and continues to work with the Cultural Circle Founder and author Dr. Al-Rifae to coordinate with the Prize Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council publish the names of those who submitted short stories for the first round of the competition on the Al-Multaqa page found on the AUK website: www.auk.edu.kw.

Professor Dr. Hamzah confirmed that the American University of Kuwait and the Cultural Circle, along with the cooperation of the Prize Board of Trustees and the Advisory Council, have completed the main task of selecting jurors who possess literary knowledge and experience.

The jury members are:

  • Author, Ahmed Al-Madeeni (Head of Jury), Morocco
  • Author, Ezzat Al-Qamhawy (Jury Member), Egypt
  • Author, Dr. Louay Hamzah (Jury Member), Iraq
  • Author, Dr. Fadya Al-Faqeer (Jury Member), Jordan
  • Critic, Dr. Ali Ajail Al-Anezi (Jury Member), Kuwait
Al-Binali explained that the agreement to release the names of the jurors and the submitters at the same time offers a level of transparency and communication between the Prize and the community, adding that readers across the Arab world have a right to know who the jury members are and the authors who have submitted their work.

Al-Binali affirms that the first short list will contain 10 short story collections will be announced in the beginning of October, 2016, while the second short list will contain of 5 short story collections and will be announced at the beginning of November, 2016. The competition winner will be announced in December, 2016, during a ceremony organized by AUK where the winner will receive the cash prize of $20,000, in addition to a certificate of appreciation, and the translation of the winning short stories to English.

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 14th April 2016

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