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  • Welcome to ALT Magazine & Press: Hazawi Prize Announces 2023 Shortlist: (Sana'a, Yemen) - The shortlist for the 2023 Hazawi Prize for Yemeni Literature has been revealed, announcing the ten writers who have been selected as finalists for this prestigious award.
  • Now in its second yearly round, the Hazawi Prize recognizes exceptional contributions to fiction in Yemeni literature. Organized by the Hazawi Cultural Foundation, this annual prize aims to promote Yemeni literature and support creative writers.
  • This year's shortlist features both emerging and renowned Yemeni authors. The ten works advancing to the final round of judging are:
  • - Abdullah Faisal shortlisted for his novel, Spirits and Secrets.
  • - Aisha Saleh shortlisted for her novel, Under the Ashes
  • - Farouk Merish shortlisted for his novel, A Dignified Stranger
  • - Ahmed Ashraf shortlisted for his novel, A Painful Belt
  • - Ghassan Khalid shortlisted for his novel, A Sky that Rains Fear
  • - Hosam Adel shortlisted for his novel, The Lord of the Black Dog
  • - Asmaa Abdulrazak shortlisted for her novel, Shrapnels
  • - Abdullah Abdu Muhammad shortlisted for his novel, The Road to Sana'a
  • - Najah Bahkeim shortlisted for her novel, The Final Decision
  • - Samir AbdulFattah shortlisted for her novel, What We Cannot See
  • The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in Sana'a later where they will receive $1,500 USD. Second and third prizes of $1,000 USD each will also be awarded. All shortlisted works are celebrated for chronicling Yemen's rich culture and wartime experiences. This prestigious prize continues highlighting the nation's thriving literary community.

A Man in the Dark – Saeed Mohammed Al-Hammadi

A Man in the Dark

a short story by

Saeed Mohammed Al-Hammadi

translated by

Hatem Al-Shamea


He rose from his seat and peered out the window. Pitch darkness enveloped everything. He thought, “This is a night of utter blackness. It seems like the middle of the night, and the moon and stars are hidden by black clouds. The work I started in the daytime must be completed at this moment.”

“All I have to do is take my crooked cane. It is made from the acacia tree, and it took me a long time to select it from the trunk of the tree and bend it over the fire to make its bumps even. I rubbed it with ghee until it shone, and it became strong as iron. I will also take the flashlight with me to light the way.”

He took his cane in his right hand and the flashlight in his left. He left his house and walked far away from it. The winter wind was blowing, and he could hear its roar. Thoughts came to him: “What made me go out at this late hour of the night? I was lying in bed, peaceful! I almost fell asleep. What are these worries?”

He walked quickly, raising his cane slightly above the ground and then lowering it so that he could hear its sound. It was his companion. His left hand was gripping the flashlight and shining it in front of his feet. He could hear the stones crunching under his feet. He was wearing a coat and a jubbah that reached to his feet. Despite the winter winds, the weather was not cold! The many Ziziphus spina-christi (sidr) trees scattered along the road and at the edges of the fields tempered it. As for the arable land, it was barren, because the rainy season had not yet arrived, and it was scarce at this time of year.

His thoughts became focused on the winding road full of scattered stones. He often imagined the shadow of a tree as a person coming towards him or a beast wanting to pounce on him. He waved his cane upwards and quickly discovered that it was one of the nocturnal birds flying from tree to tree.


He began to gather his strength and steady his steps to be more steadfast.


He remembered his father when he was at the height of his strength and that incident that happened to him. He was walking in the middle of the night, surrounded by darkness, almost unable to see anything.


Because he was experienced in walking at night, and he loved it because he spent most of his work in the dark.


On that pitch-black night, a tiger jumped in front of him, but his limbs did not tremble. He stood in front of it bravely to distinguish its type and how he would deal with it.


He was wearing a white shirt and a khaki coat with a gray color. His waist was tied with a wide belt and a sword hung on his left side. He drew that sword with his right hand and began to wave it in the air, right and left. The sword was shiny so that you could see it in the dark, and the stars that began to light up in the sky helped it appear.


The tiger advanced slowly, baring its fangs, wanting to pounce on him, but the shine of the sword prevented it from advancing further. Whenever it circled him, the man turned towards it, holding his sword. The tiger was waiting for the opportunity for the sword to slip from the man’s hand, or for his strength to fail so that he would fall to the ground. He knew inside that the man did not fear him, and that he wanted to kill him. The man’s scent reached his nose, and in this state, he could distinguish, is he afraid or brave. Does he want to fight and not surrender?


The man saw death in front of him. The more the tiger advanced towards him, the more the man became brave and daring to jump on him.


The man had the opportunity to raise his voice to reach the nearby houses to rescue him, and many men rushed towards him. As soon as the tiger saw them, it turned away.

He remembered that incident with his father and became more steadfast. He raised his head and walked forward with strong steps. He raised his voice in song, not remembering the words of the songs, but rather letting his voice flow in harmony with those words that he did remember. His subconscious mind did not allow him to utter them.


Something was perched on the tree. It flapped its wings forcefully, shaking the branches. He bent down to the ground, picked up a stone, and threw it at the branches. Most of the branches of the tree moved, and several birds flew away and landed again. He moved forward with steady steps. He heard footsteps behind him and said, “It must be a predator that has come at this late hour. Then I must be cautious.”


He rushed forward at full speed. He climbed the nearest tree. The one who came to him had a round head and thick hair from his head to his neck. His eyes were black, shiny, and dark. His front hands were slightly raised above his hind legs. He had a tail fifty centimeters long and strong claws on his hands.


The man felt him when he climbed the tree and rushed towards him in the blink of an eye. He circled the tree twice, then ran at full speed, then returned. He tried to climb, but his body weight and strong muscles did not allow him to climb the tree because its roots were high off the ground. He roared at the top of his voice. The man almost fell from fear. He circled her. The man was holding onto a branch tightly. His hands were cramped, and his heart was pounding. He thought that if he stayed in this state, his strength would collapse, and he would fall before the lion. The shawl was tied around his waist, to the branch of the tree, so that it would help him not to fall.


His soul calmed down a little, but the lion was determined not to leave the place. He was digging with his claws around the tree. He roared repeatedly to no avail. Dawn appeared on the horizon. He realized that if he stayed in this place any longer, he would be caught. He left the place, while the man had passed away.


The Wa’l [Ibex] Rises: Reclaiming Yemeni Identity through an Ancient Symbol – Hatem Al-Shamea

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