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Celestial Bodies by Jokha Aharthi: Winner of The Man Booker International 2019

Celestial Bodies, written by Jokha Alharthi and translated by Marilyn Booth, published by Sandstone Press, has won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

The judges called the book ‘A richly imagined, engaging and poetic insight into a society in transition and into lives previously obscured.’

In the village of al-Awafi in Oman live three sisters. Mayya marries after a heartbreak. Asma marries from a sense of duty. Khawla rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. Elegantly structured, Celestial Bodies is the story of the history and people of modern Oman told through one family’s losses and loves.

The book is available online and from all good UK bookshops and libraries!

Sandstone’s Managing Director, Robert Davidson, says ‘All of us at Sandstone Press are delighted and proud to be the publisher of this fine novel, Celestial Bodies, by Jokha Alharthi, which has been beautifully translated by Marilyn Booth. The Man Booker International Prize of 2019 is not only a first for Oman but also a milestone achievement for this company. More importantly, the people of Oman, and especially the women of Oman and the wider region, have a new star to follow in the shape of a young author who is only at the beginning of what I believe will be a lifetime of achievement. We all have much to celebrate.’

Jokha Alharthi says, ‘I am absolutely thrilled that Celestial Bodies has won the Man Booker International Prize. It is a great honour and I hope it will open a window to Arabic literature and Omani literature in particular. I feel incredibly proud.’

Marilyn Booth says, ‘This is such an exciting award for the literature of the gulf. I hope it gets publishers and readers more interested in the rich literature of the region.’

Jokha Alharthi

Jokha Alharthi