‘The Desire To Go Beyond the Walls and See the World’: In Conversation with IPAF Winner Mohammad Hasan Alwan


Although award-winning in French, Mohammed Hasan Alwan doesn’t have a novel available in English. When he took the this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction, it became certain that would change. Chip Rossetti talks to Alwan about the subject of his IPAF-winning novel, as well as the prize and Alwan’s next novel:

By Chip Rossetti

Alwan with his fellow shortlistees, at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, the day after the award was presented. Photo: Daniel Lowe.

Ibn ‘Arabi (1165-1240) is one of the most famous Sufi scholars and mystics in Islam — beloved today by some who venerate him as a Sufi sheikh, and rejected by others who find his ideas heretical. He wrote a number of texts on religious and philosophical topics, but spent his life traveling widely across the Mediterranean and the Middle East, in the Sufi tradition of siyaha, or wandering travel. Born in the

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