ABU DHABI // Rabee Jaber scooped the fifth annual International Prize for Arabic Fiction last night at a gala ceremony at Abu Dhabi's Rocco Forte Hotel.
The Lebanese author - previously nominated in 2010 - claimed the prestigious prize for The Druze of Belgrade, a historical tale following survivors of Mount Lebanon's 1860 civil war and their subsequent exile in Belgrade.
The $50,000 (Dh 184,000) prize includes guaranteed English translation and publication of the prize-winning novel.
Jaber topped a six-person shortlist including former nominees Tunisia's Habib Selmi, from Tunisia, and Jabbour Douaihy, also from Lebanon.
The award was decided by a judging panel chaired by the Syrian writer Georges Tarabichi. "Had the rules allowed, we would have nominated all six novels as prize winners," he said.
The award launches the 22nd Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre for six days, where more than 900 exhibitors showcase titles from the Middle East and Europe to South America.
The theme of this year's Fair is the literature of the United Kingdom. For more information visit www.adbookfair.com.