Jokha Alharthi became the first Arabic author ever to win the Man Booker International Prize when her book ‘Celestial Bodies’ won the prestigious literary prize for 2019.
Translated by Marilyn Booth – a teacher of Arabic literature at Oxford University, the book is about the evolution of Oman after its colonization. It is a poignant saga of a family of three sisters whose ups and downs are intimately intertwined with the history of their country.
The prize of 50,000 pounds will be divided between the author and the translator.
The book is also the first by a female writer from Oman to be translated into English.
We’re delighted to announce our #MBI2019 winner is Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth and published by Sandstone Press. Read more here: https://t.co/rWHBRXwDOy pic.twitter.com/SfJr2Yg98u
— Man Booker Prize (@ManBookerPrize) May 21, 2019
Alharthi has previously written three novels in Arabic, two collections of short fiction, and a children’s book. She currently teaches at the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, the capital of Oman.
The head of the five-member panel that chose the book, Bettany Hughes, said that this beautiful novel was “a book to win over the head and the heart in equal measure.” She added that the book demonstrated “delicate artistry and disturbing aspects of our shared history.”
The other four nominees for the prestigious honour were France’s Annie Ernaux, Germany’s Marion Poschmann, Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk, Colombia’s Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Chile’s Alia Trabucco Zeran.
What is the Man Booker International Prize?
The Man Booker International Prize was instituted in 2004 and was awarded to an author to recognize his/her body of work. However, since 2016, it has been awarded to a single book in English translation.
Have you read this masterful novel yet? If not, we highly recommend that you do. We are certain you would love it.0