Omani Author Makes History With Top British Award

22 May 2019
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Omani author Jokha al Harthi – who became the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English – has gone on to win the prestigious Man Booker International prize for her novel, ‘Celestial Bodies’.

Incidentally, she also became the first Arab writer to take home the British award, thereby creating waves among the Middle East region as a whole.

The award entitles Jokha and her translator, Marilyn Booth, to £50,000 (RO24,500). It is mandated to be split equally among the two writers.

Set in the Omani village of al-Awafi, Jokha’s novel follows the stories of three sisters: Mayya, who marries into a rich family after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries for duty; and Khawla, waiting for a man who has emigrated to Canada.

Going up against the best authors from around the world, Al-Harthi saw off established writers and former winners such as Olga Tokarczuk, acclaimed French author Annie Ernaux, and Colombia’s Juan Gabriel Vásquez.

The Man Booker International Prize is a literary prize awarded to the best original novel written in English.

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