The T.R. Fyvel Book Award announces shortlist

The T.R. Fyvel Book Award announces shortlistSamir Kassir, Mukhtar Mai, Dave Eggers and Hisham Matar are the four authors who have been shortlisted in the 2007 T.R. Fyvel Book Award.

Lebanese journalist and historian, Samir Kassir was shorlisted for Being Arab (Verso, 2006), which explores what Kassir describes as the “Arab malaise,” the political and intellectual stagnation of the Arab world. The book calls on Arabs to confront their own history, to reject Western double standards and Islamism alike, and to take the future of the region into their own hands. Kassir, a vocal critic of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, was assassinated in a car bomb attack in Beirut on June 2, 2005.

Mukhtar Mai was shortlisted for her book, In the Name of Honour which tells of the gang rape she was subjected to in Pakistan and of the custom which dictated she should kill herself. In this moving account, Mai allows her readers to look inside a world of ancient tribal justice, poverty and economic and sexual bondage.

What is the What by Dave Eggers tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee of the Sudanese Civil War who becomes one of the ‘Lost Boys’ who are being pursued by militias. Eventually he makes it to America where a very different struggle begins.

Hisham Matar‘s In the Country of Men is a deeply affecting story of love and betrayal set against the political background of Libya. In 2006, the novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and as well as for the Guardian First Book Award.

The winning author will receive the award at LSO St Luke’s, London, on March 14 2007.

This year’s awards will be presented by Anna Ford, with a keynote speech from Jung Chang, bestselling author of Mao:The Untold Story and Wild Swans.

The T.R. Fyvel Book Award is adminstered by the Index on Censorship as part of its annual Freedom of Expression Awards which honour human rights defenders who have made a significant contribution to free expression over the past year.

Books that made it onto last year’s shortlist included Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq (Marion Boyars, 2006) by Riverbend; Human Cargo (Vintage, 2006) by Caroline Moorehead; Unspeak (Little Brown, 2006) by Steven Poole and Beasts Of No Nation (John Murray, 2006) by Uzodinma Iweala.

In 2006, the award went to Into The Quick of Life: The Rwandan Genocide — The Survivors Speak (Serpent’s Tail, 2005) and A Time for Machetes: The Rwandan Genocide — The Killers Speak (Serpent’s Tail, 2005) by French journalist Jean Hatzfeld.

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