Under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Minister of Al-Diwan Al-Amiri Affairs, the American University of Kuwait held an award ceremony for the first cycle of the Al-Multaqa Short Story Competition on the 5th of December, 2016.
His Excellency the Minister attended the ceremony and praised the efforts of Al-Multaqa's mission to promote the art of short story writing in Arabic stating, "I commend Kuwait for initiating the first cycle of this prize, and hope that it establishes a presence in the Arabic literary and cultural scene by honoring authors for their creative efforts. I also hope that this initiative will attract more young writers in the future."
Taleb Al-Rifae, Founder of the Al-Multaqa Prize, also gave a speech in which he expressed his gratitude to those who have sponsored and supported the mission of the Prize. Al-Rifae also announced the signing of an agreement between the Arab World Institute (Paris, France) and the Prize whereby, in addition to having the winning collection translated to English as part of the Prize awards the Arab World Institute will commit to translating the collection to French for further publication.
Chair of the jury, Ahmed Al-Madeeni announced Palestinian author Mazen Maarouf, as the winner of the first cycle for his submission, Nukat Lelmusalaheen. In his victory speech Maarouf said, "I am overwhelmed with happiness; I did not expect to win. I was thrilled with the announcement of the establishment of the Prize because it provided the genre of short story-writing with rejuvenation and brought it back to life."
Maarouf received a trophy, a certificate and $20,000, in addition to having his winning collection translated into two languages. The other four finalists were honored on stage with a small trophy and a certificate of recognition for their participation, along with $5000 each.
The ceremony was part of a two-day event that also included panel discussions from authors of Arabic short stories that was held on Tuesday 6th of December, 2016 with acclaimed authors, editors and publishers in attendance.
The first session featured the 5 shortlisted writers Anis Arrafai, Ziad Khaddash, Lutf Al-Sarari, Mazen Maarouf, and Mohamed Rafie, and was moderated by Saudi Arabian literary critic Hassan Al-Naemi.
The second session featured Elias Farkouh, Said ElKafrawy, Salwa Bakr, and Jubair Al-Mulaihan, and was moderated by literary critic Dr. Louay Hamzah.
The third and final session featured ElSaid Boutadjine, Bushra Khalfan, Laila Al-Othman, and Mohammed Khudhair, and was moderated by Kuwaiti literary critic Fahad Al-Hendal.
Submissions for the second cycle of the Al-Multaqa Short Story Prize will be accepted starting January, 2017.
The Al-Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize was launched last year in partnership with the Cultural Circle by the writer Taleb Rifai and AUK as the first competition dedicated to the Arabic short story. During its first cycle, a total of 189 short stories were submitted for consideration to a jury committee that consisted of President of the Committee, Ahmad Elmadini, and members: Ezzat Elkamhawi, Dr. Fadia Faqir, Dr. Ali Al Enezi and the Narrator Salima Salih. The jury committee is expected to select and announce the overall winner of the Prize, whose winning short story will be translated into English and published.
From left to right: Mr. Taleb Rifai; Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs in Kuwait, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah; Dr. Suleiman Al Shatti
From left to right: Mr. Taleb Rifai; winner of Al Multaqa Prize, writer Mazen Maarouf; Chair of the Board of Trustees of AUK, Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah
From left to right: Mr. Taleb Rifai; Dr. Suleiman Al Shatti; Dean of College of Arts & Sciences at AUK, Dr. Rawda Awwad; writer Mohamed Rafie; writer Ziad Khaddash; Chair of the Board of Trustees of AUK, Sheikha Dana Nasser Al-Sabah; winner of Al Multaqa Prize, writer Mazen Maarouf; writer Lutf Al-Sarari; Dr. Ali Al Enezi; Anis Arrafai; President of the jury Ahmad Elmadini
Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 20th December 2016
Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2016