Katara award a boost for Omani writers

SALALAH, Nov 27 – One of the recipients of the prestigious Katara Prize for Arabic Novel lives in Salalah and promotes Arabic literature in his own limited way. He won this year’s prize in the category of ‘Prize for young adult unpublished novels’ for his book titled Al Taer Al Bashari (The human bird), which has a story of a man who converted into a bird and searching for the elements of humanity in him.
Nasr Sami loves to maintain a very low profile. He teaches Arabic in Al Saidia School in Salalah. A soft spoken writer, Nasr’s vocabulary is very rich, but he speaks very less and answers for the sake of answering a question. He takes time in opening up and accepting that he is a celebrity among writers. He nodded his head in affirmation with a soft grin when asked about bagging the prestigious Katara award.
“I am really humbled to get this honour as I know that there are many good writers who do not get chance to take part in such competitions due to their own limitations of being content, shy and introvert. I am thankful to my friends who encouraged me to participate and I could get this,” he said.
Audience for his award winning book is children between 12 to 18 years old, “as not many quality books are available for the teenage children,” he admits.
Awards are not new to Nasr. The second part of his Al Taer Al Bashari got Katara honour, while he won 2015 Shariqa prize for child literature for his novel Hikkayyat Jaber Erraayi (the shepherd Jaber’s stories). He is working on the third part of Al Taer Al Bashari.
The 44-year-old Tunisian writer has written nine books on poetry, three novels and two books on literary critics. One of his poetry books has been translated into French and Italian and he is a founder member and chief editor of the seasonal book on culture titled Shaair (the poet) in which Arabic poets from around the world contribute write ups.
Being in Salalah, he has not confined himself to the school. He keeps on promoting local writers to hone their skills in writing and is happy to identify some “strong pens” in Salalah. He has strong belief that some of the budding writers will bring accolade for Oman in coming days.
Commenting on the quality of writers in Oman, Nasr Sami said: “The quality is good but they need to get recognition outside Oman. For this, the writers from Oman should participate in literary events happening in outside Oman. There should be big scale events in Oman, so that the local pens get introduced to others.”
He also put thrust on inculcating reading habit among the youth and said it was necessary to read as much as possible to emerge as a good writer. “Reading brushes up your thoughts and helps you to write.” “As a writer, I promote new writers, attend workshops and even edit some works done by the local writers,” he said.

Kaushalendra Singh