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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.

Peaches – by Nabilah Al-Sheikh – trans: Hatem Al-Shamea


My grandmother, with her slender figure brimming with vitality, her wide glasses partially concealing her tender features, her lone eye assisting her, casting light to protect us, indulge us. One day, as she leaned over the firewood with an axe in hand for baking bread, she bid farewell to her other eye. She always tended to the garden where she planted what she deemed important and beautiful.

My father, regal in his demeanor, was also there with his kindness, the joy of his return from a journey, and the gifts unknown to us. I relish opening files that carry the scent of jasmine in that corner, and why not? It is the golden age for my heart, a time of simple worries and endless laughter.

A small corner at the front of our courtyard embraces a generous, graceful tree that immediately imparts exceptional warmth. I sneak into it, laden with peaches, plucking as much as I can in secret to share with our friends.
Planted by my mother’s hands, she diligently nurtured it. Between them, a friendship grew unnoticed at the time. Year after year, it overflowed onto us, onto family and neighbors. My mother exuded joy and tenderness, enveloping us in a dense security we only recognized upon its loss.

The peach tree became sparse, then withered. We paid it no mind, didn’t care, and didn’t pause. Every day it grew more yellow and wilted, unnoticed. My mother suffered and mourned, her voice fading away. They withered together, yellowed together. Which one withered first? I don’t know. Which one withered for the other? Which one pledged to depart with the other? The peach tree departed with my mother.
And we finally stopped when my mother departed. We stopped when many things within us ceased, unnoticed when they halted, and began things we didn’t feel when they began.

I didn’t know how much time had passed until I noticed that the peach tree had disappeared, leaving only its barren trunk! A reminder that many peaches were once here, along with my mother’s songs. The corner became somber, solitary, transforming into dark shadows of memories.

I grew up, and my sense of loss for my mother and the tree grew. Each one reminds me of the other, and I linger each time under the shade of their memory, feeling bubbles of pain inside me, akin to bubbles of boiling honey. I wonder how the peach tree acquired a sense of my mother? How did it embody loyalty? My mother planted it, vowed to it, and was the first to endure pain with it, the first to share her sorrows and partake in the bitterness of pain. My mother turned yellow, and so did its leaves, which fell. My mother departed, and the peach tree refused to stay. How can the peach be more loyal and sensitive than us, O Mother?

Are not your hands the ones that pledged us? Why are we not like the peaches? I loved the peach tree as much as I loved my mother, as much as it faithfully stood by her, as much as I loved the beautiful times. Shall I plant you again, O peach tree? Will my mother’s time return? Her voice? Her warmth? I know I am not a loyal peach like you to do that. Her life was giving, and her death was loyalty.

But there will come a time, in some world, where I will be with my mother, surrounded by plenty of peaches.

Here I Am – Esa Al-Azab – trans. Hatem Al-Shamea

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