The Wheeler Centre congratulates all the nominees for the Indie Book Awards, announced last night. The award honoured 2010 best Australian books, as judged by independent booksellers. Comedian Anh Do won the top gong for book of the year for his memoir of coming to Australia as a three year-old, The Happiest Refugee. Chris Womersley won the best novel award for his second novel, Bereft, set before and after World War One. Jon Bauer’s Rocks In The Belly was judged best fiction debut and Jeannie Baker’s Mirror won best kid’s book.
The international prize for Arabic fiction has been announced and will be shared by two writers for the first time. Saudi Arabia’s Raja Alem and Morocco’s Mohammed Achaari - a former culture minister of the country - will share the $50,000 prize. Alem’s The Dove’s Necklace looks at the underbelly of Mecca while Achaari’s The Arch and the Butterfly examines at the effects of a terrorist’s death on a family who assumed he was studying in London. We recently took a look at Arabic literature and asked why it receives so little international attention.