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Author Mohammed Alnaas, the first Libyan to win the international prize for Arabic fiction

DUBAI: Author Mohammed Alnaas, 31, is the youngest author and the first Libyan to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his book “Bread on Uncle Milad’s Table”.

The winner was announced on Sunday, and Alnaas will receive a $50,000 prize in addition to funding an English translation of the book.

The Libyan author delves into gender roles and ideas of masculinity in a remote village in his homeland for the book. After becoming engaged, Milad’s family life becomes the talk of the village as he pursues his passion for bread making while his fiancé works to support the household.

Milad learns the neighborhood gossip and publicly challenges traditional gender roles.

Alnaas’ novel won all six shortlisted novels and was praised for its complexity and literary flair.

The book was written in just six months during the lockdown, while Tripoli was under bombardment.

Alnaas revealed that writing “Bread on Uncle Milad’s Table” was his “refuge from madness” amid the news of COVID-19 and the war.

“The award-winning novel is written in the form of confessions of personal experience. Its plethora of detail is skillfully unified by a compelling narrative,” said Tunisian novelist and former IPAF Laureate Shukri Mabkhout, 2022 Jury President. the division of labor between men and women, and their effects both psychologically and socially. It falls into the category of novels that challenge cultural norms about gender. However, it is grounded in its local Arab context and steers clear of any ideological treatment of issues, as such treatment would be contrary to the way fiction can present multiple viewpoints,” he added.

Born in 1991, Alnaas earned a BA in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tripoli in 2014 before releasing his short story collection “Blue Blood” in 2020.

Sharon D. Cole