MUSCAT: Omani woman writer Jokha Al Harthi’s Celestial Bodies has been for being longlisted for the 2019 International Man Booker Prize
“Congratulations Jokha Alharthi and translator Marilyn Booth, on making the #MBI2019 longlist with Celestial Bodies @sandstonepress,” Man Booker Prize tweeted.
The book is published by Scottish publisher Sandstone Press.
Retweeting Sandstone Press’s tweet Anglo-Omani Society also congratulated Jokha.
“Congratulations to Jokha Al-Harthi for being longlisted for the 2019 International Man Booker Prize. A superb achievement. #Oman #MBI2019 #Literature #FinestFiction @ManBookerPrize,” the tweet read.
The Man Booker Prize Judges praise the 13 finalists – all but two published by indie houses – for ‘enriching our idea of what fiction can do’.
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Al Harthi has been translated by Marilyn Booth into English.
In 2010, Celestial Bodies has won the 2010 Best Omani Novel Award.
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.
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.