By: Mohamed Najeeb Mohamed Ali
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Winners of the al-Tayeb Salih short story award for young writers were announced at the Abdelkareem Mirghani Cultural Center in Omduraman, amidst a wide gathering of intellectuals and pressmen.
The first winner was Ms. Reham Habeeballah for her story ‘emancipation”. The second winner was Mohamed Muwafi for his story ‘Naruka’s murder”, while the third prize went to Ms. Bara’a Osman Mohamed Taha for her short story ‘dialogue.’
The Award committee has further awarded encouraging prizes for seven young writers. They are: Ms. Eman Mohamed Idris for her story “drifting dreams’, Mohamed Hassan al-Nahhat for his ‘responses of a defeated man’, Ms. Hind Mohamed Osman al-Mahi for her ‘some wishes and pain’, Abdallah Ahmad Mudawwi for his ‘away from the river’, Mohamed Haj Ali Himmat for his ‘my mother’s hand’, Mohamed Dahab Talbo for his’ nushooq’ and Mahir Ibrahim Dao’od for his ‘ Kango curse’. These stories will be published within the Award book.
The Award committee said the story, ‘emancipation’, that won the first prize, had tackled a yearn for freedom as an issue of existence and not a story inside a specific framework. The theme was tackled through a fantasy similar to that of novel genius Gabriel García Márquez, as it recalls the character of the beautiful Remedios that flies up stretching her robe. In this story the female turns into a bird free from all shackles that could pull it toward the Earth. In Mohamed Muawfi’s story “Naruka’s murder”, the theme is the struggle between duty and surrender to persuasion. It conforms with the current state of affairs in a new and inspiring language and cohesive characters. Bara’a Adil’s text tackles the issues of poverty and illness and the exploitation of religion. The writer employs love to take the story’s hero out of his painful situation.
Committee Chairman Mahjoub Kaballo tells Sudanow that this flow of short stories is an indication that the story has taken roots in our cultural life. He said they received 73 texts for this tenth session of Abdelkareem Mirghani Cultural Center's Award.
Another symptom, says Kaballo, is that this is the fourth time that a female writer would win the Award’s first prize. ”This is an indication that the women movement is opening towards culture and creativity”, he said.
He said they had noticed that the themes of the short stories presented were linked to the current political state of affairs, as more than one text had tackled the issues of war and asylum.
Novelist Ibrahim Ishag said he was gratified by this zeal for writing and awards among the young generations, lamenting what he called the declining role of the Ministry Of Culture in such activities as the Tayeb Salih Award.
He said the Ministry should continue to encourage the country’s creative writing and propagate it abroad.
“We never differentiate between the winning writings of men and women in these contests. What counts is good creativity,” he said in reply to one question.
Southern Sudanese story writer, committee member, Stella Gaitano, considered the wide participation in this contest was a reply to claims that the short story was on the decline. She said the story requires ability and excellence.
Gaitano noted that the questions of war, asylum, nostalgia, existential questions and the identity issue were dominant in the texts presented for the award.
“The stories had expressed the youth problems,” she said, adding that “the female pen was present in the first three prizes and the encouragement prizes.”
“This is an indication of women’s concern for writing as a way out of a lot of challenges,” she said.
The Award arbitration committee was chaired by Writer Mahjoub Kaballo and Stella Gaitano as his deputy.
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