Muscat – Omani literature is preoccupied with the obsession of excellence and universality today, as it seeks to be read by others through translations of various languages.
Novelist and writer Sharifa Al-Toubia believes that literary awards in themselves, whether international or Arab, are not a measure of the value and success of a literary work.
The way to the world
Al-Tawbia says, “For me, I do not consider the winning works to be the best at all, there may be better ones, and the measure of preference in the literary work is relative to the reader, because it depends on the taste of the person who reads the work, and winning the award depends on the choice of the committee according to its requirements, vision or directions. “.
honest repentance: We must have literary translation projects
And about the arrival of these winning works to the world, in her opinion, she emphasizes the importance of reaching the world, and perhaps without her victory, she would not have reached and the foreign reader would not know anything about her, and the name of any of the Arab writers would not appear, and this gave the work a marketing, perhaps he would not have obtained the book in The limits of his Arab environment, but we all know, as you say, that these works did not reach an international award if they were not translated, and here we see the importance of translation and the importance of having projects for literary translation, and therefore this victory opens the doors for that work to become global and the writer known And from them, the work is translated into several other languages.
Al-Tawbia considers that the prizes are not what they seem. The international prize in particular is not in its material value only, but in the moral value of the writer himself, whose name will become known in all countries of the world, and his book will become sought after and read. Often the books that win prizes are the best sellers, And the name of the winning writer rises, and in this an opportunity for readers in the world to know Arabic or Omani literature, and we were all pleased with Jokha Al-Harithi’s novel “Ladies of the Moon” winning the Man Booker International Prize. unknown to some or most of the world.
She adds, “This also encouraged many writers to dream of winning an international award, and therefore writings that were written with great creativity appeared, novels and literary narrative books that I expect to win as well, but on the other hand, some writers are now writing a letter with an eye on the award, and this is the worst of the The subject, until some works were detailed according to the award’s scale, and in accordance with its requirements and conditions, which led to the emergence of literary works written by their owners for the sake of the prizes’ eyes.”
In a parallel line, Academic Ahmed Youssef, an Algerian academic at Sultan Qaboos University, sees that fiction writing in the Sultanate of Oman began as shy and modest artistically for many reasons. There is no place here to elaborate on its motives. In the Arab cultural scene after the novel “Angels of the Green Mountain” appeared in Oman, signed by the writer Abdullah Al-Tai 1958, and published in 1963; For literary historians, it is considered the first work of fiction in terms of temporal leadership.
Salem bin Rabie Al Ghailani: The audience is a real and more honest measure than the award committees
He added, “It is followed by the second novel, ‘The Great Sail’, which was printed in 1981. Despite this delay in production, the quality of creativity and the audacity of experimentation; Some experiences have emerged that pushed the Omani novel to the fore, and even to the ranks of the world. Some novels at the regional level reached advanced positions in Arab prizes, such as the arrival of the late writer Abdulaziz Al Farsi’s “Crying Earth Laughs Saturn” to the long list of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Booker) in 2008, and “Ladies of the Moon” by Jokha Al-Harithi to the long list for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Booker) in 2008. Sheikh Zayed and “Things Are Not In Their Places” by Huda Hamad won the Sharjah Prize for Fiction Creativity in 2009.
He points out that one of the names that had a remarkable activity in terms of publishing the novelist Saud Al-Mudhaffar, his production of the novelist approached ten novels, and other names emerged such as Saif Al-Saadi, Mubarak Al-Amri and Ali Al-Maamari. We can consider “The Tawaf where the coals” by Badriya Al-Shehiyah in 1999 and “Whisper of the Bridges” by Ali Al-Maamari are among the most mature novels that represent the true beginnings of the novel in Oman. We were faced with remarkable novelist experiences such as Hussein Al-Abri, Muhammad Al-Araimi, Muhammad bin Saif Al-Rahbi, Ahmed Al-Zubaidi, Abdulaziz Al-Farsi, Suleiman Al-Maamari, Khaled Al-Kindi, Younis Al-Akhzmi, Ahmed Al-Rahbi, Mahmoud Al-Rahbi, Hamoud Al-Shukaili, Sultan Al-Azri, Salem Al-Twaya, Zahran Al-Qasimi, Muhammad Al-Yahai and others.
Omani women also had a remarkable presence in the novelist scene, such as Ghalia Al Said, Fatima Al Shaediya, Huda Hamad, Azhar Ahmed, Zuwayna Al Kalbaniyeh, Bushra Khalfan, Badriya Al Badriyah and Aziza Al Tayeh. Moon Ladies” went global by winning the Man Booker International Prize translated into English. In my opinion, the path to globalization passes through the power of creativity, the fertility of imagination, the exploration of the richness of local culture and the control of fiction writing.
He says, “But we should not exaggerate in saying that once the novel, Ladies of the Moon, won many English and French prizes and is in the long list of novels translated into Russian, the Omani novel reached the world stage. We are facing an individual case that still has a long way to go in order to become an objective case that expresses the direction of a novelist in Oman. But it was an important step that broke the wall of isolation, and introduced Oman to history and culture.”
purity of suburbia: Winning international literary prizes means the excellence and internationality of the work
As for the writer and novelist Salem bin Rabie Al-Ghilani, he says, “Without a doubt, winning a prestigious international or Arab award is an important indicator of the universality of that work; a powerful means of spreading any business and making it known to people; But it is not the main measure of this; Because the public’s acceptance of that work is the determining factor for its success or failure, regardless of what critics may say or what the results of competitions targeting such works come out with. In the end, competitions are subject to the moods and orientations of a number of people who decide among themselves the originality of one work and the lack of originality of another; Therefore, the audience remains the true and most honest yardstick for works that care about taste and interaction, being the target of that work, not competitions or critics.”
Al-Ghilani added, “We are a society that has always kept away from attention-grabbing places, where the lights are dimmed and crowding is less effective, so it is difficult to get to know us and reflect on our different details. And we impose ourselves on the map of global attention in all fields, so that we succeed in conveying our cultural voice and the intellectuals of our society to that vast space, which is a cumulative and integrative work that is not limited to the size of our literary production, but rather to the size of our political and economic influence and what we add to the world heritage.”
He continues, “We must first draw the world’s attention to the existence of our society in its various details, and then everything will be possible and available, which is good in one way and harmful in many ways; Therefore, the results that are achieved by some of our writers and intellectuals from time to time are not sufficient, and do not extinguish the burning desire in the aspiring souls to reach the world and the wide cosmic spread. Therefore, I believe, in my humble opinion, that we in the Sultanate of Oman have a long way to reach this goal in light of the available data. Currently, the connoisseur of culture and literature still gets to know us through occasions whose audience is narrow and elitist, in addition to the fact that the vast majority of our cultural productions are monolingual and have not been translated into the hands of those who want to hear our cultural voice and learn about our culture.”
Finally, the writer Safaa Al-Wadhia believes that winning international prizes in the literary field means the excellence of the work, its eligibility and its universality. Ascending the pulpits, and making it the focus of everyone’s attention and eagerness to acquire it, as a precious literary masterpiece that has its own weight, and that the aesthetics of the narration, its coherence, its strength, and the writer’s creativity in using linguistic and symbolic methods are a strong supporter of the integration of literary work and the novel in particular.
Al-Wadhia believes that there are cultural results that will achieve winning these awards that will have a positive impact on the writer himself and on Omani literature in general, as the writer will be placed in the eye of the microscope, and his name will emerge and reach the global cultural and media circles, and publishing houses and readers from different countries are racing to obtain his literary work The winner and his previous and upcoming works, as it enhances the value of Omani literature and the Omani writer, which makes the demand for it continues in the international literary, cultural and media forums, and the Omani writer earns the trust and the name that befits Oman, the birth of writers and poets.