Hoda Barakat

Hoda Barakat

Hoda Barakat, a renowned Lebanese novelist, achieved several awards, notably the Booker Prize in 2019. Born in 1952 in the town of Bsharri, Lebanon, she lived there until she traveled to Beirut to pursue French literature at the Lebanese University. In 1975, she graduated and traveled to France to continue her postgraduate studies.

However, due to the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1976, she was compelled to return to Lebanon. After her return, she engaged in teaching, journalism, and translation. In 1989, she returned to Paris and settled there.

Hoda Barakat spent a considerable period in France, working at Radio Orient in Paris. Despite this, she adamantly refused to write in any language other than Arabic.

During the war, Hoda Barakat began writing her short story collection titled “Za’irat” (Visitors). She also completed her first novel, “Hajar al-Dahik” (The Stone of Laughter), which won the Critics Award and was published in 1990. Notably, it was the first Arabic novel with a homosexual protagonist.

Her works have been translated into multiple languages. In 1993, she published the novel “Ahl al-Hawa,” translated into Italian, Spanish, and French. In 2001, she published the novel “Harith al-Miyah, (The Tiller of Waters)” translated into English and French.

Awards and Achievements:

  • In 2001, the novel “Harith al-Miyah, (The Tiller of Waters)” was published, and Hoda Barakat won the Naguib Mahfouz Literature Award for that novel in the same year.
  • In 2002, the French government awarded her the rank of Knight in Literature and Arts.
  • In 2008, she received the Medal of Merit in France.

In 2004, she visited the United Kingdom for an official visit to attend the first broadcast of Banipal UK, a magazine for contemporary Arabic literature.

She was a candidate to become a member of the Nantes French Research Institute between 2010 and 2011. In 2013, Hoda Barakat was chosen as the first Arab researcher in the Middle Eastern Studies department at the University of Texas at Austin.

Her novel “Malakut Hazihi Al-Ard” (The Kingdom of  This Earth) was published in 2012 and made it to the long list of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2013, also known as the “Arabic Booker Prize.”

In 2015, Hoda Barakat was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, awarded every two years for the author’s entire body of work. In the same year, she competed with the Libyan novelist Ibrahim Al-Koni for the Booker Prize.

In 2017, she published the novel “Bareed Al-Layl (The Night Mail),”  and in 2019, she received the Booker Prize. The judging committee selected her novel as the best published novel between July 2017 and June 2018, choosing it from among six shortlisted novels.

Books Written by Hoda Barakat