Poet, novelist, and Hoopoe author Ibrahim Nasrallah won the Katara Prize for Arabic Fiction for the second time, in the category of the published novel, for his novel A Tank under the Christmas Tree, making him the first Arab novelist to win the award twice in this category.
The Katara Prize for Arabic Fiction is an annual literary prize awarded in Qatar. Established in 2014 by the General Organization for Cultural District–Katara, it has a total prize pool of $650,000, and with the main prize fetching $200,000, making it one of the richest literary prizes in the world. The winning novels are translated into five languages, including French and English.
This year’s winners in the five categories were announced on October 13 in Doha, Qatar, on the occasion of the International Day of Fiction. An astonishing 930 novels were submitted for the category of published novels, considered the most prominent award within the Katara Prize. Previous winners in the published novel category include Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, Waciny Laredj, and Sameh El-Gabbas.
Ibrahim Nasrallah is considered one of the most influential novelists of his generation. Born in 1953 to Palestinian parents who were evicted from their land in Palestine in 1948 and raised in a refugee camp, he practiced as a journalist before turning to creative writing. His works include 15 poetry collections and 21novels, including The Lanterns of the King of Galilee, (Hoopoe, 2015), Time of White Horses, (Hoopoe, 2016), and Gaza Weddings, (Hoopoe, 2017), all translated by Nancy Roberts.
He has won numerous prizes, including the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Arabic Booker), which he won in 2018 for his novel The Second Dog War. In 2012 he won the inaugural Jerusalem Award for Culture and Creativity for his literary work.
Apart from being one of the most widely read novelists in the Arab world, Nasrallah is also an artist and photographer. In 2014 he climbed Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro with two Palestinian youths who had lost their legs, to raise support to a nongovernmental organization that provides services to Palestinian and Arab children. This powerful journey inspired him to write The Spirit of Kilimanjaro, the novel that would lead to him to win the Katara Prize for the first time in 2016.
Today Nasrallah lives in Amman, Jordan.