You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Omani writer wins Man Booker literature prize

AFP  |  London 

has become the first Arabic to win the for her novel "Celestial Bodies" which reveals her Omani homeland's post-colonial transformation.

"I am thrilled that a window has been opened to the rich Arabic culture," Alharthi, 40, told reporters after the ceremony at the Roundhouse in on Tuesday.

Alharthi is the of two previous collections of short fiction, a children's book and three novels in Arabic.

She studied classical Arabic poetry at and teaches at in Muscat.

"inspired me but I think international readers can relate to the human values in the book - freedom and love," she said.

The prestigious 50,000-pound (USD 64,000) prize, which celebrates translated fiction from around the world, is divided equally between the and the

Alharthi's was US academic Marilyn Booth, who teaches Arabic literature at

The judges said Celestial Bodies was "a richly imagined, engaging and poetic insight into a society in transition and into lives previously obscured".

It is set in the village of in where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who is waiting for her beloved who has emigrated to

The three sisters witness Oman's evolution from a traditional, slave-owning society.

"It touches the subject of slavery. I think literature is the best platform to have this dialogue," Alharthi said.

The jury said: "Elegantly structured and taut, it tells of Oman's coming-of-age through the prism of one family's losses and loves".

said it offers "glimpses into a culture relatively little known in the west" and said it signalled "the arrival of a major literary talent", calling the book "a densely woven, deeply imagined tour de force".

Bettany Hughes said the novel showed "delicate artistry and disturbing aspects of our shared history".

"The style is a metaphor for the subject, subtly resisting cliches of race, slavery and gender," she said.

Alharthi was up against five other shortlisted authors: France's Annie Ernaux, Germany's Marion Poschmann, Poland's Olga Tokarczuk, Colombia's and Chile's

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 22 2019. 12:56 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU