September 30, 2015
Alwan received the French Award for Arabic literature 2015 for his novel “Beavers”!

Alwan received the French Award for Arabic literature 2015 for his novel “Beavers”!

The Award for Arabic literature, worth €10,000, was created by the Arab world institute (Institut du monde arabe, Paris), and the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation (Paris).

The award is presided by Pierre Leroy, Co-manager of Lagardère SCA, and is composed of several personalities from the worlds of media, arts, culture, as well as specialists of the Arab world. A vast majority of the jury elected Mohammed Hasan Alwan’s novel, which was also previously shortlisted for the International Prize of Arabic Fiction, IPAF (or Arab Man Booker).

The prize will be awarded on October 14th 2015 by Jack Lang, President of the Arab world institute, and Pierre Leroy.


Seven titles had been shortlisted and submitted to the jury:

  • Ali al-Muqri’s “Forbidden woman” (Liana Levi), which was given a special mention by the jury.
  • Mohammed Hasan Alwan’s “Beavers” (Le Seuil)
  • Chawki Amari ‘s “The dead donkey” (Barzakh)
  • Najwa Barakat’s “The secret language” (Actes Sud)
  • Souad Benkirane’s “The four seasons of the lemon tree” (Karthala)
  • Rabee Jaber’s “The druze of Belgrade” (Gallimard)
  • Akram Musallam’s “The stork” (Actes Sud)

Below is Alwan’s reaction, in French, followed by the English translation:

« Formidable passerelle entre les cultures, ce prix témoigne de la façon dont la littérature s’affranchit des frontières pour inviter écrivains et lecteurs à parcourir ensemble le chemin merveilleux qui les conduira vers des territoires communs. Toute mon enfance a été bercée par les grandes oeuvres de la littérature française ; aussi, je suis très honoré que le français soit la première langue dans laquelle mes romans ont été traduits. Neuf mois se sont écoulés depuis la publication de la version française de mon livre. Une période mise à profit pour communiquer de manière inédite avec des lecteurs français passionnés qui n’ont pas hésité à me faire part de leurs impressions et à éclairer certains aspects d’un jour nouveau.

Ces échanges riches d’idées et d’opinions influencent considérablement mon travail à présent que je me suis attelé à mon nouveau roman. Je me demande comment mes lecteurs français vont le recevoir. Grâce à ce prix, j’espère conquérir un public encore plus vaste et recueillir davantage de commentaires qui feront encore évoluer mon écriture. »


“Formidable bridge between cultures, this award demonstrates how literature overcomes borders to invite writers and readers to walk through all the wonderful ways that will lead them towards common territories. My childhood was impregnated by the great works of French literature, I am therefore very honoured that French is the first language into which my work has been translated. Nine months have passed since the publication of the French version of my book. A period during which I was able to communicate, in a way never possible before, with passionate French readers who have not hesitated to tell me about their impressions and shedding new light on some aspects of the book.

These exchanges, rich in ideas and opinions greatly influence my work now that I set about my new novel. I wonder how my French readers will receive it. With this award, I hope to reach a yet even larger audience, and gather more comments that will make my writing evolve further”.


The Award for Arabic literature’s members of the jury are:

  • The président : Pierre Leroy – Co-manager of Lagardère SCA
  • Nada Al Hassan – Specialist of cultural heritage
  • Mahi Binebine – Painter and writer, winner of  the 2010 award
  • Mustapha Bouhayati – Director of the Luma Foundation in Arles
  • Jean-Pierre Elkabbach – Journalist at Europe 1, founder and animator of the show Bibliothèque Médicis
  • Gilles Gauthier – Previously Ambassador of France in Yemen, and translator of Alaa El Aswany
  • Kaoutar Harchi – Writer
  • Houda Ibrahim – Writer and journalist at Radio Monte-Carlo Doualiya
  • Alexandre Najjar – Writer and columnist at the Lebanese cultural magazine L’Orient littéraire, recipient of the grant “Écrivain de la Fondation Jean-Luc Lagardère.”