- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Moroccan author Mohammed Achaari and Saudi Arabian writer Raja Alem will share this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

The chair of the judges, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, says both books deal with problems facing the Middle East. Achaari’s book “The Arch and the Butterfly” describes how Islamic extremism and terrorism have destroyed Arabic society, while Alem’s book, “The Doves’ Necklace,” describes the lesser known side of the Saudi city of Mecca.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The prize was established in 2007 to recognize contemporary Arabic writing and is modeled on Britain’s Man Booker Prize. It is managed in association with the Booker Prize Foundation in London.

The two authors will split the $50,000 cash prize between them, and will have their novels translated into English.

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