Abdelouahab Aissaoui wins 2020 International Prize for Arabic Fiction
The Spartan Court by Abdelouahab Aissaoui was today announced as the winner of the 13th International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The novel, published by Dar Mim, was named as this year’s winner by the Chair of Judges, Muhsin al-Musawi.
In addition to winning USD $50,000, funding will be provided for the English translation of The Spartan Court, and Abdelouahab Aissaoui can expect an increase in book sales and international recognition.
The Spartan Court follows the interconnected lives of five characters in Algiers from 1815 to 1833. The first, Dupond, is a French journalist covering the colonial campaign against Algeria, the second, Caviard, is a former soldier in Napoleon’s army who finds himself a prisoner in the city and later becomes a planner for the campaign. The other three Algerian characters have different attitudes to the Ottoman and French colonial powers. Ibn Mayyar thinks that politics is a means of building relationships with the Ottomans and even the French, whilst Hamma al-Sallaoui believes that revolution is the only means of achieving change. The fifth character, Douja, is suspended somewhere between all these: she witnesses the transformation of Algiers helplessly and is forced to become a part of it, for one must live according to the city’s rules, or leave.
Abdelouahab Aissaoui is an Algerian novelist, born in Djelfa, Algeria, in 1985. He graduated in Electromechanical Engineering from Zayan Ashour University in Djelfa and works as a maintenance engineer. In 2012, his first novel, Jacob’s Cinema, came first in the novel category of the President of the Republic Prize.