Palestinian Prisoner Wins Int'l Prize for Arabic Fiction

Palestinian prisoner Basim Khandaqji received the award for his 2023 novel.

  • Publish date: Monday، 29 April 2024
Palestinian Prisoner Wins Int'l Prize for Arabic Fiction

Despite being in prison, Palestinian author Basim Khandaqji received the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his 2023 novel 'A Mask, the Colour of the Sky'.

Lebanese publisher Dar Al Adab published Khandaqji's novel and the book received the award of the $50,000 prize at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Apr. 25.

Israeli authorities arrested Khandaqji on terrorism charges in 2004 and he is serving three life sentences in an Israeli prison. 

The founder of Dar Al Adab Rania Idriss received the award on behalf of Khandaqji. 

Idriss said upon receiving the award, "Basim would like to thank the organisers and judging panel of the Ipaf awards."

She also said, "He would also like to thank his family who have been his source of strength throughout the nearly 21 years that he has been imprisoned, particularly his brother Yousef Khandaqji, his brother and partner in life."

Yousef Khandaqji was present at the ceremony and reacted emotionally when his brother was named the winner of the award. 

Basem Khandaqji's novel 'A Mask, the Colour of the Sky' is about Nur, a Palestinian archaeologist in a refugee camp in Ramallah. Nur decides to impersonate an Israeli citizen to find out what life is beyond the fence after he finds the citizen's identity card. 

The novel is Khandaqji's fourth novel and part of a series of works released while Khandaqji was imprisoned.

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