Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi is the winner of the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Saadawi’s award was announced April 29 in Abu Dhabi. He is the first Iraqi to take the prize, now in its seventh year.
The other novels that made the shortlist were Khaled Khalifa’s No Knives in the Kitchens of This City, Youssef Fadel’s A Rare Blue Bird That Flies with Me, Abdelrahim Lahbibi’s The Journeys of ‘Abdi, Inaam Kachachi’s Tashari, and Ahmed Mourad’s The Blue Elephant.
The IPAF award will bring Saadawi $50,000. The shortlisted novelists will be given $10,000 each.
Saadawi’s novel tells the story of Hadi Al-Attag, “a rag-and-bone man” who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad of 2005, searching for fresh human body parts to stitch together a human corpse. Once completed, the patchwork “what’s-its-name” embarks on a journey of revenge on behalf of those whose organs constitute its body.
The IPAF winner was selected by five judges: Ahmed al-Faitouri, Zhor Gourram, Abdullah Ibrahim, Mehmet Hakki Sucin and chair Saad al-Bazei.