MUSCAT: It is a great honour and opportunity for Omani literature to be read and accepted by wider audience, Jokha Al Harthi, the Omani writer whose book Celestial Bodies, has been longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, said.
In an exclusive statement issued by Celestial Bodies publisher Sandstone Press to The Arabian Stories, Jokha said that she is absolutely thrilled that Celestial Bodies has been longlisted for the Man Booker international prize.
“It is a great honour and an opportunity for Omani literature to be read and appreciated by a wider audience,” Jokha says in the statement.
Celestial Bodies is the first novel by an Omani woman to make the longlist for the Man Booker International Prize.
Sandstone’s Managing Director, Robert Davidson, says that they are delighted with this recognition of the work of Jokha and her gifted and distinguished translator, Marilyn Booth.
“We are incredibly proud of our part in bringing this talented novelist to the attention of Europe and the world. This is a fine novel that makes real a history and a people and their possible futures,” Davidson 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.
We are incredibly proud of our part in bringing this talented novelist to the attention of Europe and the world. This is a fine novel that makes real a history and a people and their possible futures.Robert Davidson, Managing Director, 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.
Jokha 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 Ph.D. in Classical Arabic Poetry in Edinburgh and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.
She has been shortlisted for the Sheik Zayed Award for Young Writers and her short stories have been published in English, German, Italian, Korean, and Serbian.