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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.

Map of Sorrow and Wind – Ahmed Abdo – trans. Hatem Al-Shamea

Map of Sorrow and Wind
Author: Ahmed Mohamed Abdo – Egypt
Translated by Hatem Al-Shamea

Perhaps this patch is the skin of a cow or a buffalo!
Its vastness and sprawling ends, as it is spread out and pinned to the wall of the classroom, indicates that it is most likely for a domesticated animal!
The bloody animal is always: small, light, and agile.
The patch that was just skinned from its body meets you, a page of cottony fibers stained with red spots. It is difficult to identify its identity. The skinned animal, thrown on a drain slope, or hanging in front of a butcher shop, we determine its nature and judge its type, from its characteristics, the words that do not resemble its counterparts in other animals, such as the color and divisions of the skin and fur, as well as the tail or fat and the horns and ears, and the shape of the head.
This patch consists of two wide pages, with a groove in the middle, roughly, that takes you from bottom to top, mushroomed from above, about two horns or fingers, forming a chronic challenge, and in all cases..a sign of victory!
That crack may be the spine, up to the roots of the horns or fingers!
The teacher placed the map over this white greased patch, and the blood still oozes from it in many of its plateaus and fatty plains. He released the edges of the map, and applied it to the patch, a perfect fit. Then he instructed the students with the idea of printing the countries, states, and emirates on this sprawling patch, to create a replica of it. One of the students opened the jaws of the scissors, placed between them the thickness of the skin with the thickness of the map, then walked with the scissors along the borders between the countries, starting from bottom to top, vertically. The strips appeared hanging in the horizontal strip of the seashore, as if they were hung in a “clothesline”!, oozing blood, it seemed like a taut thread, between the sides of a street, fluttering under the square, triangular, rectangular, and bulging scraps. The student started cutting the horizontal lines. At this moment, the teacher shouted: “You did what I did not mean! You misunderstood, or perhaps you had bad intentions. You are stupid, reckless, and perhaps a traitor.”
The boy tried to justify his behavior, saying: “The scissors were ahead of me, leading me, leaking anger from me.”
Then the teacher wrote for them the title of the next lesson, which was about two topics:
The first:
Explain: Terrorism is coming from the ozone hole!
The second:
Analyze: The end of the saying: hot dry in summer, warm rainy in winter, and the erosion of the edges of the seasons and their overlap in each other, and its relationship with globalization?
The students carried the tattered patch, each holding one end, and then they dispersed with the bell of the end.

Oceans of honey, with benches for sleep on their sides, and pockets of laziness on their shores. Above their waves and orbits, migrating seagulls fly, carrying in their folds and between their feathers fleas of anxiety and insomnia, flying towards the holy rivers:
The Hiba River, the Euphrates River, and the Great River
Wells of fire, lakes of blood, and others of wine, a delight for immigrants, tourists, and occupiers, and hunters of Syrian ducks, Egyptian pigeons, and Iraqi geese!
Treasuries of hidden gold, eyes clearer than the eyes of the houris, and manifestations of mountains and rocks: a mountain where the first encounter took place at the beginning of creation, a mountain on which the Qur’an was revealed, a mountain where the thunderbolt struck, a mountain from whose depths the revelation emerged, and a mountain on which the sermon was given.
And a cave; one day they will emerge from its depths the mummy, with dishevelled hair and rituals, of the last of the Umayyad caliphs, with tears frozen in his eyes!
If only he could cry like women, for a kingdom that he did not preserve like men!
Ranges of hills of collective depression, valleys of psychological complexes, depressions and cracks in the soul, wells of play, humor, sex, and laughter, caves of fear, and books to explain theories of fear, and the professionalization of fear, written in letters of the alphabet of fear.
Fear … fears … fear … he is afraid or afraid …
And in the street, the stormy wind was blowing the scraps.
For the first time, people raised their eyes, and found the children’s decorations, hanging in the streets, celebrating the days and nights of Ramadan, and they had made them from the skin of an elephant!!

I Named Her, Fatima – a novel written by Mayasa Al-Nakhlani – trans. Hatem Al-Shamea


“خريطة للحـزن والريــاح” – (“Map of Sorrow and Winds”)

Ahmed Mohamed Abdo’s short story, “خريطة للحـزن والريــاح” (“Map of Sorrow and Wind”), presents a layered narrative, intertwining geographical and metaphorical elements. The story delves into the symbolism of a dissected animal hide and a map, exploring themes of identity, manipulation, and the impact of external forces on individuals and societies.

Metaphorical Landscape:
The opening description of the dissected animal hide sets the tone for the narrative. The choice of words, such as “ضئيل” (small), “خفيف” (light), and “رشيق” (slender), paints a vivid picture of vulnerability. The dissected hide becomes a canvas for identity, mirroring the complexities of defining one’s essence, reminiscent of the challenges in defining a slaughtered animal’s nature. The intricate details, from the tail to the horns, signify the uniqueness and complexity of individual and collective identities.

The Map as a Symbol:
The introduction of the map further deepens the metaphorical landscape. Placed on the painted hide, it becomes a symbol of manipulation and control. The act of printing countries and territories onto the vulnerable surface of the hide parallels the imposition of external influences on societies. The blood-soaked map, a result of past dissection, underscores the historical wounds and conflicts embedded in geopolitical boundaries.

Symbolism of the Cracks:
The crack running through the hide serves as a powerful symbol. It could be interpreted as the spine, the backbone of society, or the fractures within an individual’s identity. The crack becomes a point of both vulnerability and strength, representing the enduring nature of identity amid external pressures.

Classroom Dynamics:
The classroom scene introduces a pedagogical dimension to the narrative. The teacher’s instructions to replicate the map symbolize the societal expectations and the perpetuation of established norms. The student’s inadvertent deviation from the prescribed path leads to accusations of ignorance, betrayal, and potential subversion. This dynamic hints at the societal intolerance towards deviation from the established narrative.

Themes of Manipulation and Power:
The narrative subtly explores themes of manipulation and power. The teacher’s reaction to the student’s unintentional deviation underscores the fragility of individual agency within societal structures. The act of cutting along predetermined lines echoes the control exerted by authority figures, reflecting broader sociopolitical structures.

Geographical Imagery:
The geographical descriptions, such as the “بحار من عسل” (seas of honey) and “كهـوف من خـوف” (caves of fear), contribute to the multifaceted nature of the story. These images evoke a sensory and emotional response, blending the tangible and intangible aspects of the human experience.

“خريطة للحـزن والريــاح” (“Map of Sorrow and Wind”) offers a rich tapestry of symbols and metaphors, engaging readers in a reflection on identity, power dynamics, and the impact of external influences. The narrative’s depth lies in its ability to weave together geographical and metaphorical elements, creating a nuanced exploration of the human condition. Abdo’s story invites readers to question established narratives, appreciate the complexities of identity, and reflect on the forces that shape individuals and societies.

The night, a café of memories – Asma’a Al-Shaibani – trans. Hatem Al-Shamea

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