May 19, 2015
The winner of the International Man Booker Prize will be announced tonight

The winner of the International Man Booker Prize will be announced tonight

The winner of the International Man Booker Prize will be announced tonight, meanwhile, below is an interview of Hoda Barkat, published by The Guardian on May 13th. Go the The Guardian‘s website for the interviews of all other authors on the shortlist.

How would you describe your work to someone unfamiliar with it?

How to answer this, especially if you don’t know the person, apart from saying: “Read me, and I hope you will like it!” I would add that these books are emotionally difficult to write, and perhaps that they tell the stories of characters who are either marginal, isolated, or innocent, who are subject to violence that transforms them.

Which of your books would you recommend to a reader approaching your work for the first time?
Probably the first, hoping that the reader will then try more!

As a writer, do you feel that there is a distinction between a home and an international readership?
I don’t think so, no. I’ve had the luck to meet readers of different backgrounds, languages and countries, and their comments generally weren’t much different from those of my Arabic-speaking or Arab readers.

Who are your literary heroes?
There are lots of them and they are all different. In each novel or play that I’ve read, or even music that I’ve heard, the characters that I’ve liked have helped shape me and were my heroes, up to the point of considering them to be aspects of reality and not creations of fiction. So that Werther was more real than my younger brother, Macbeth filled my dreams and anxieties more than the beginnings of war in my town … With the advantage of being able to read in two languages, Arabic and French, I had the extraordinary luck of feeling like I belong to a family of people around the world, and also of all times!

Is it the duty of the novelist to engage with the political issues of the day?
I don’t believe that a writer has “duties”: it is enough for a writer to do their job well. However, it’s true to say that a writer is indirectly the witness of their time, even through what they omit from their work, and denial of the “great causes” of their times is bearing witness to it as well.

Tell us something new about yourself.
I’m a grandmother! And very happy to be one! My granddaughter is called Yasmine.


Photo credit: The Guardian