‘Celestial Bodies’, a novel by Omani author Dr. Jokha Bint Mohammed Al Harthi, has been announced as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2019 in London on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Al Harthi is an Associate Professor in the Arabic Department at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
The winning novel had been shortlisted for the prestigious prize last April along with the short story collection ‘Jokes for the Gunmen’ by Palestinian author Mazen Maarouf.
Al Harthi’s novel, ‘Sayyidat Al Qamar’ (Ladies of the Moon’ had been released in Arabic in 2010, and was later translated by American author and academic Marilyn Booth under the title of ‘Celestial Bodies’.
The 41-year old Omani writer holds a PhD in Arabic literature and has authored around 10 publications including 3 novels. In 2016, she won the Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Arts and Literature in the ‘novel category’.
It is worth mentioning that the shortlist for the 2019 edition of the Man Booker Prize had included 5 other translated works by authors from France, Germany, Poland, Colombia and Chile.
According to the Man Booker Prize website, the chair for the panel of judges, Bettany Hughes said: ‘Unexpected and unpredictable narratives compelled us to choose this vigorous shortlist.’
The Man Booker Prize, worth GBP 50,000, is to be shared by the author and the translator. The winner was announced at a Gala ceremony held in London, on May 21, 2019.
The Man Booker Prize, which was officially established in the United Kingdom in 2005, is an international biannual award that is granted to an author whose body of work is published in English or is generally available in English translation.