Latest News:
  • 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.

Shawi on The Internet – Maha Salah . trans. Hatem Al-Shamea

Shawi on The Internet

He was met with a flurry of photographers and journalists from international media outlets, all asking him questions. What had been his most recent relationship? Was it true that Zahra was his one true love? Was it true that he had a personal designer to dress him in his stylish attire? What was the secret behind his refusal to publish his socio-capitalist views in a book? Was it true that he had royal lineage, tracing back to the Yemeni kingdoms of the Middle Ages? How had his spiritual connection with the devout Christian Elizabeth impacted his faith? What was his stance on the war on terror, and did he support the road map?
Unable to answer, he quickly ran away, his arms flailing, as soon as he opened the door to his house at Bab Al-Yemen Gate.
He was perplexed as to why crowds were still chasing him to the point of exhaustion, despite the possibility that they had mistaken the wanted person or they had suspected him. He endeavored to make them understand that he was Shawi, the peaceable man and the owner of the yajur house located at the entrance to Al-Melh Market, and had nothing to do with the chaos. He swore that he had never caused any harm to anyone, nor had he ever been in any quarrels. His routine was to start his day by dipping a piece of Zalabia (dumplings) in hot tea and end it with inhaling the blended fragrances of spices that filled the air of the muddy city before returning to his large house, where he lived alone. He never felt bored or lonely; he had a vast wealth of clothing, jewelry, and collections of songs, dialects, and stories. Every member of his peculiar family, of which he was the last, had origins from various regions. There was a rumour that his male relatives were cursed with an irrepressible desire for women from different areas, each of whom was devoted to her own traditions and determined to introduce and implement the customs and traditions of her own region. Eventually, he became a blend of all of them. Perhaps this was why his father named him Shawi, due to his body being infused with the blood of all the tribes, families, and regions. He was also domesticated with myths and tales. He was bewildered and was no longer certain of anything except his fervent love for the bread seller, Zahrah.
For forty years, he lived without any difficulties. Every day he would choose two pieces of clothing to wear, depending on his mood. He wore a long-sleeved shirt resembling a pair of wings, a silver-knotted dagger, and a bamboo hat. Occasionally, he would don a bright-colored garment and drape a thick shawl over his shoulders, completing the look with a sheepskin-made wool, which revealed his strong arms. He was able to remember the names, brands, and origins of the various pieces he wore, leading some to call him a madman for his meticulousness in his attire. He then ventured out to the bustling market bakery, bought some zalabia (dumplings), and dipped them in hot tea. He roamed the old city alleys aimlessly until he eventually made his way back home.
He was continually being disturbed by the tourists’ cameras. Finally, he blushed, not sure what to say; he had to leave. No one could manage to create a friendship with him apart from the eccentric Elizabeth, who was madly following him wherever he went, dipping zalabia (dumplings) in hot tea and love, and a flavorful (saltah) meal. She resembled him, wandering all around the streets as if she was avoiding her destiny.
One day, Elizabeth said to him before they separated indoors:
-If I had your freedom… She did not complete it but hurried off to an unknown place from where she had come. Elizabeth again showed up like a little kitten, expecting him outdoors.
One evening, he headed to his room. He showed Elizabeth his archaeological treasure, containing old clothing, ancient daggers, sticks inlaid with precious stones, and silver necklaces with rubies. She was amazingly astonished and started wildly taking photos of Shawi in various outfits and in an unusual manner while narrating his thrilling stories about the destiny of his family members, who looked like no one else. His grandfather, who fell in love with a fairy, was never found, nor were his half-human children. His younger grandfather drowned himself along with his beautiful horse in the sea, his uncle, who possessed the desert and its women, died in the desert, and his grandmother was a witch who once saved her tribe when she warned them to be prepared for invaders. Elizabeth was listening, enthralled by his tales, which resembled the tales of One Thousand and One Nights. He asked her about her family that had migrated to build a new land. She stayed silent. Her grandfather could have been one of those who fought Napoleon – she dreamt. She felt the East’s charm and power when sitting with Shawi.
When it was time for her to depart, she did not bid Shawi farewell; instead, she promised him that she would find a way to stay with him, even if she had to travel to the other side of the world.
Before long, Shawi had gained recognition across the globe, thanks to his American agent who had created a website to highlight his remarkable persona – detailing his peculiar mannerisms, outlandish costumes, sleeping patterns, daily excursions, and the mysterious women who adored him.

Shawi’s website quickly became the most visited site on the internet, and he was voted as the most influential person in the world in a global survey. Media personnel from all corners of the world scrambled to get a glimpse of the new world icon.
Shawi’s heightened intuition, which he had inherited from his grandmother, warned him that peace had finally left him and that his darkest nightmares were about to come true.
Shawi was overwhelmed by the sudden transformation of his tranquil neighborhood into a chaotic nightmare. Journalists had been stationed outside his door for days, relentlessly barraging him with questions about his private life. He was then presented with an offer he had never before heard of: free courses in Oriental and Western dance, etiquette lessons, exclusive contracts for presenting Coca-Cola advertisements and chocolate, movie star contracts in international films, a goodwill ambassador, and a manager of a charitable fundraising campaign to address poverty, water shortages, climate change, and nuclear wars. He felt powerless and confused in the face of this sudden change.
Rumors swirled that Shawi was under constant surveillance, with blue satins radiating his every move, monitoring his breaths, and broadcasting them on his sinister website. He pleaded with the crowds surrounding his house to leave him be. Shawi tearfully destroyed his distinctive clothing and burned all his cursed wealth, before finally succumbing to his nightmare. He shattered the windows and doors of his home, inviting the world to come and see him for free, with no intermediaries. Afterward, he resumed life as if no one was there.

One morning, Shawi had disappeared without a trace. All the monitoring devices and high-tech CCTV cameras installed were unable to detect him escaping. This mysterious incident led to the companies that had signed contracts with him to entertain their fans going bankrupt. Elizabeth committed suicide by jumping from the top of a skyscraper, and gossip-seeking journalists withdrew, in search of a new Shawi to fabricate material for their daily newspaper columns. Shawi’s escape became a primary topic of discussion, and specialists spent time debating and attempting to explain the ingenious methods he might have used to escape from such tight surveillance. However, the trickster had vanished, and there was no one to tell how he had done it.

An Evening of Bliss – Entesar Hasan – trans. Hatem Al-Shamea

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart