Should You Turn Down That Literary Award?

It’s literary prize season! When the Sawiris Cultural Awards were announced at the start of 2023, novelist Shady Lewis Botros turned his novel award down, launching a storm of criticism, defense, and discussion. Is it bad manners or good politics to turn down a prize? How do different prizes affect the literary landscape? How is the 2023 prize season shaping up?

Show Notes: 

Mada Masr published “A conversation with Shady Lewis Botros on the genealogy of literary refusal

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction recently announced their 2023 longlist, with a historically high number of women writers (half).

Also in Jan 2023, Banipal Prize judges announced that two novels had won their 2022 prize. By coincidence, we did a joint episode on those two novels.

PEN America recently announced their lit-prize longlists. Iman Mersal’s The Threshold, translated by Robyn Creswell, made the poetry-in-translation longlist.

In December 2022, Fatima Qandil’s Empty Cages won the Naguib Mahfouz medal, and she said it was the first time she’d won a prize.

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