Muscat:: Omani author Jokha Al Harthi has been included on the long list for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given in recognition to writers for their stories. Al Harthi was shortlisted for her book Celestial Bodies, a coming-of-age novel set in Oman, which tells the tale of three young women, and how the Sultanate develops from their perspective.
The English version of the book is published by Sandstone Press, and is available to buy in both paperback and e-book format.
A statement from her publishers said, “Celestial Bodies is set in the village of Al Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada.
“These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present,” added Sandstone Press. “Elegantly structured and taut, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.”
Al Harthi’s book was also the winner of the 2010 Best Omani Novel Award.
We are pleased to announce our #MBI2019 longlist. Watch what our judges had to say. Read more https://t.co/lx8XT5ZMBH#FinestFiction pic.twitter.com/8X314myMVi
— Man Booker Prize (@ManBookerPrize) March 13, 2019
Jokha Alharthi is the author of two previous collections of short fiction, a children’s book, and three novels in Arabic. Fluent in English, she completed a PhD in Classical Arabic Poetry in Edinburgh, and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. She has been shortlisted for the Sheikh Zayed Award for Young Writers and her short stories have been published in English, German, Italian, Korean, and Serbian.
Al Harthi’s inclusion on this list has received congratulations from others in the literary world as well.
“Congratulations to all at Sandstone Press and of course author Jokha Al Harthi,” said publisher Paul Cain, as fellow author Rhiannon Cosslett said, “So excited that my publisher Sandstone Press and fellow Sandstone author Jokha Al Harthi and translator Marilyn Booth have been longlisted for the international Man Booker Prize – congratulations all! Great to see so many other small presses on the list too.”
Robert Davidson, founder and MD of Sandstone Press, added, “Congratulations to Jokha Al Harthi and her translator Marilyn Booth.”