The Barjeel Art Foundation is pleased to launch the Mudun Short Story Prize, an international competition that invites writers to showcase, in fiction, a city in the Arab world they know intimately.

The competition aims to produce stories and narratives that reflect the urban spirit of cities, neighbourhoods and structures in the region. Whether your story takes place in Aleppo, Beirut, Cairo, Rabat, or Sharjah, we want to experience the city as you do. By no means is this prompt a confinement to realism. Your story could spring into the realms of fantasy or even science fiction, but we would still need to see existing or past landmarks, streets, or buildings of the city of your choosing.

Your story should not only be limited to reflecting the architectural and urban forms of your chosen setting but also display the predominant social dynamics, cultural and political undertones. Tell us about the people, how they navigate spaces and occupy them. Take us through your city's traffic jams or its labyrinthine alleys. Show us its courthouse or your neighborhood grocery store. Whatever urban aspect you choose to focus on in your story, describe it as vividly as you can. Your characters could be elves, cyborgs or based on the family next door. Anything goes, provided your story takes place in a city in the Arab world.

We will be accepting submissions in English and Arabic, and of no more than 5,000 words.

Multiple entries by a single author will not be considered.

Please include a Google Maps hyperlink of where your story takes place as a footnote to the title. If your story moves along more than one location, you may include more hyperlinks as footnotes to transition points. 

As part of your submission, you may also separately upload old photographs or illustrations of the narrated locations in your story. These photographs can be from your family albums or any other collection.

The award is open for submissions from July 1 to September 1. Cash awards of $350 will be awarded to the first-place winner and $250 to the runner-up. The two winning stories will be published on the website of Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal. All works and supplemental materials will be considered for publication in an anthology.

The prize judges include Razmig Bedirian, Faris Bseiso, Reem Khorshid and Sultan Al Qassemi.

We look forward to reading your stories.

Barjeel Art Foundation