The program is based on an annual open call launched at the end of the year.

Mophradat is supporting emerging creative writers from the Arab world working in contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Published writers currently working on a new text for publication and who need time to focus on its completion can apply to this program. Each participant will receive a stipend to allow them to take time out from their daily preoccupations and complete their project.

The program offers a short sabbatical period for two or more writers per open call.

The participant would receive an amount that ranges from US$600 to US$1,300 per month determined by Mophradat based on the local living costs in the writer’s country of residence, and covers a period from one month up to three months, depending on the writer’s need. Applicants must have a publisher interested in their upcoming work (online or print. Independent publishers, periodicals, and other literary or cultural journals qualify). At the end of the sabbatical period, they will connect with one of the advisors (from the selection committee) for a feedback session concerning their manuscript.

SPECIFIC ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • Applicants must be from or living in the Arab world.
  • Applicants must be authors of creative writing including fiction, poetry, criticism, essays, and other literary forms. These sabbaticals are not for academic writing, film, or journalism.
  • Applicants must be published writers with at least two prior instances of publication (books, articles, essays etc.).
  • Applicants must provide a letter of interest from a publisher for the new work they are about to complete during this sabbatical. Innovative proposals in method and form will be given priority.
  • Applicants must commit to taking a leave from their day jobs for the entire sabbatical period. (For those who are selected: if employed, a letter from their place of employment must be provided confirming the agreed time out).

PROCESS

  • All applicants, whether selected or not, will receive a response to their applications by March 15, 2022.
  • Upon selection, a grant agreement will be signed between the recipient and Mophradat.
  • Funds will be released in a two-stage process: 70 percent when the agreement is signed, and the remaining 30 percent at the end of the sabbatical period upon submission of the completed manuscript and a short narrative summary of what was achieved.
  • The grantee engages to visibly credit Mophradat for the publication of their work, and send copies of any printed material to its office in Brussels.

*Please note that due to the high volume of applications and the confidentiality of the selection process, Mophradat cannot provide individual feedback explaining the reason an application was not selected.
**By applying to this program, you agree that, if selected, you will endeavour to realise your proposal. If the proposal is not realised within the timeline agreed upon, you may be asked to partially or fully reimburse Mophradat.

This program is partially supported by the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Writing Sabbaticals 2022 recipients were selected from more than 160 applications from the Arab world, through an advisory committee comprised of Maya Abul Hayatt (novelist and poet, Jerusalem), Muhamed Abdelnaby (writer and translator, Cairo), and Nadia Ghanem (filmmaker, Cairo). The writers are:

Mohamed Abdelraouf (b. 1988, Egypt) for his essay Back From War With a Party in his Head, which borrows from literature, journalism, and socio-political history. The novel employs a heteroclite style that resonates with the author’s experience of compulsory military service, his emotional struggles, and some of his favourite songs.

Nur Turkmani (b. 1995, Lebanon-Syria) for her multivocal short story collection In the Line and Other Stories about relational intimacies during periods of crisis. The collection explores love, sex, and heartbreak, as well as intergenerational social collision. It questions meaning-making amidst collective tragedies and the human tendency to return –sometimes unwillingly– to human connection.

Sara Elkamel (b.1990, Egypt) for Keep (working title) – a poetry collection that grapples with experiences of confinement and resistance. In lyric poems that entertain the surreal, Keep portrays experiences of girlhood, daughterhood, and womanhood. It also engages personal narratives of the 2011 Revolution in Egypt, and offers a reinterpretation of the Bride of the Nile myth.

Sima Qunsol (b. 1995, Jordan) for her new autobiographical novella that explores the grief of losing a parent by revisiting dinner table conversations as well as intimate and collective anecdotes about her father’s life.

Soukaina Habiballah (b.1989, Morocco) for her detective novel The Norwegian. Written in Modern Standard Arabic and Darija, it reflects on oral transmission and official history, and takes place in the late 1800s and early 1900s in both Morocco and the US. Through the voice of an elderly Moroccan woman interrogated in a police station, she progressively weaves threads of fragmentary real and imagined stories.

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