Today, all over the Arab world there is a lack in our cultural scene; it is time of retrogression and decline. But this doesn’t justify any elusion. A little of the art and literature generosity and lenience will help to save young and promising seeds from being doomed in this degraded time, and to prepare a proper ground and environment for them to blossom, they will no doubt; with the hope to grow and progress on their own in the future, year after year after year. N.Barakat  


Mohatraf How to Write a Novel – for literature, theater and cinema, announces the list of names to participate in the extended second session, in the fields of novel and theater. We integrated screenwriting and playwriting, due to the low level in the field of writing scenario, thanking all those who submitted their projects for their trust and their encouragement expressed in their letters.




• Asma AlSheikh – Egypt

• Iyad Barghouti – Acre, Palestine

• Abdo Khalil Oogache Nazo – Aleppo, Syria

• Dalaa Mufti – Kuwait

• Huda Jawahiri- Sultanate of Oman

• Tarek Basha – Lebanon


Theatre and Cinema  

• Raouda AlSalmi – Tunisia

• Sheriff Abdelmejid Saleh – Egypt

• Hanan Hajj Ali – Lebanon

• Benaziz Mohamed – Morocco

• Hilal Badi – Sultanate of Oman

• Huda AlShawa Kaddoumi – Kuwait


The long list before choosing names listed above comes as follow:

• Juhaina AlKhalidiya – Lebanon

• Saifuddin  Messaada – Jordan

• AbdulRahman Jassim – Iraq

• Jana Hassan – Lebanon

• Mohammed Dammak – Tunisia

• Mireille Hammal – Lebanon

• Tamer Sarraj- Egypt

• Nasreen Alteryakyi – Lebanon

• May AlKaloti – Palestine

• Nesreen Ajab – Lebanon

• W dad Halawani- Lebanon

• Hany Bishr – London

 We are publishing  the names included in the long list for transparency, to note the importance of those projects selected among 174 applications, and to encourage them to pursue their creative work, or to apply again to the Mohtaraf in the future

Mohtaraf will organize intensive workshops (from one to two weeks) in parallel to the second session, and it will be announced at the time…

The aim of Mohtaraf is to encourage and develop young talents to prepare the birth of a new generation that will form a current and be the milestone in the process of rejuvenating the Arab culture and stirring its stilled water



Project’s Purposes

Given the success of Mohtaraf How To Write a Novel in its first edition, I have decided to proceed in realizing my biggest dream: Launching Mohtaraf how to write a novel – Writing Workshops for Literature, Theatre, and Cinema, a permanent workshop located in Beirut, which receives young and aspiring writers of all ages and from all Arab countries, not only in the narrative field, but also in theatrical and movie script writing.  

Three sessions of Mohtaraf how to write a novel – Writing Workshops for Literature, Theatre, and Cinema, will be organized every year:    

– A session dedicated to novels’ writing    

– A session dedicated to theatrical writing    

– A session dedicated to movie script writing  

The Mohtaraf how to write a novel – Writing Workshop for Literature, Theatre and Cinema aims mainly at nurturing new generations of Arab skilled writers, through  

– Encouraging and developing young talents from the entire Arab region, in literature, theater and movie script writing fields.  

– Providing creative environments promoting the exchange, communication and cooperation among young talents who are still blossoming and skilled writers who are already renowned in literature and writing fields  

– Establishing, strengthening and maintaining links among different young Arab talents, in order to stir up a creative movement that serves as a milestone in rejuvenating the Arabic culture  

Work Mechanism

The same work mechanism shall be applied to the three sessions of the Mohtaraf How To Write a Novel  – Writing Workshops for Literature, Theater and Cinema, where each session lasts for almost a year, during which participants complete their writing project.  

Afterwards, a jury shall choose the winning works to be published by a prestigious Arab publishing house (or by a cultural institution adopting the project), in partnership with Mohtaraf how to write a novel, in an event attended by cultural figures, financing and concerned parties, and covered by different Arab media  

Practically: After announcing the three sessions in the press and media, the participants (around six in each field) shall be chosen according to their experience.  

Meetings will be held with the participants during four extensive workshops, each lasting between seven to ten days and organized every ten weeks. Between these four dates correspondence and follow up will be maintained through the internet and shall end by the participant completing his text by using and implementing the acquired skills through this experience.  

At the end of these workshops, a jury composed of professionals from every field as well as a representative of the participating publishing house and the manager of the Mohtaraf, shall choose the best novel, the best play and the best scenario, and the publisher shall publish and distribute the proposals: i.e. briefing composed of one to five pages of their novel, theater or movie script, attached with samples of their previous texts, if available.  

There are no conditions as to age groups or availability or lack of previous.  

Plan of Action: January 2011 – December 2011

Launching Mohtaraf how to write a novel – Writing Workshop for Literature, Theatre and Cinema January 2011.  

Applications shall be received from different Arab countries via their cultural clubs and centers, or from individuals, starting from June till November 2010.  

In other words, cultural institutions in every Arab country shall name a number of aspiring writers considered to have a talent that needs to be developed in any of the writing fields – novel, play, and movie script.  

After that, the candidates shall send their writing projects to the Mohtaraf in order to select the writers – around six writers in each of the three sessions (sections) – provided that the concerned cultural institutions participate in covering the expenses of their selected candidates related to receiving and training the candidate and publishing his work, whether by winning the Mohtaraf Award, or by reaching a high level of excellence and distinction.  

Selected Individuals shall ask a cultural institution in their state or country, for financial assistance covering the expenses related to receiving the training.  

In all cases, Mohtaraf how to write a novel – Writing Workshop for Literature, Theatre and Cinema shall ensure that the participant complete his work under the best conditions; however it doesn’t guarantee publishing the work unless it meets the excellence and distinction standards. It also doesn’t assume the responsibility of the withdrawal of the participant or his delay or abstention from work.  

In case it was impossible to implement this criteria for any reason whatsoever, considering the particular conditions governing some cultural institutions and centers in some Arab countries, we will welcome all other proper suggestions and ideas, such as: Mohtaraf how to write a novel – in the country itself; setting up sessions having a limited time schedule; studying some achieved works to improve and develop them, etc.  

N.B: For more information, the concerned and interested parties are kindly requested to contact us at the following address.  



(French Mob.) +33 (0) 6 74412881  

(Lebanese Mob.) +961 70 76 49 96  


Project’s Background

(Mohtaraf How To Write a Novel – in its first session dedicated to the novel)

I have launched the project How to write a novel at the end of 2005, and I have organized several workshops for literary writing in various Arab countries, including Sudan, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine and Lebanon as well as a number of European capitals.  

Selecting Beirut as the World Book Capital for 2009 constituted a golden opportunity which allowed organizing the Mohtaraf in its integral form between April 2009 and 2010, financed by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture and sponsored by Saqi Books.  

Thus, at the end of its first year in which session was dedicated to the novel, Mohtaraf how to write a novel introduced the first generation of novelists, who are:  

– Rasha Atrash, winner of the Mohtaraf Award for her novel Saboon which was signed once she was declared winner (see the media file in the annex).  

– Hilal Chouman, writer of the novel Napolitana that will be published by Dar Al-Adab and Mohtaraf how to write a novel, before the end of the year.  

– Rana Najjar, whose novel The Camp (provisory title) will also be published by Dar Al-Adab and Mohtaraf how to write a novel, before the end of the year.  

On The Long term

Establish the “Mohtaraf how to write a novel” House in Beirut

The strategic goal of Mohtaraf how to write a novel for Literature, Theatre and Cinema is to acquire sponsors who are willing to fund the establishment of the Mohtaraf mansion. It stands to reason that Beirut is selected as the center of these workshops given the glorious cultural history of this Mediterranean and Arab city and its role as the hub of the Arabic culture and the home of the biggest publishing houses as well as its stimulant environment open to creativity and freedom of expression. The idea of opening an independent house for the workshops comes from the following purposes:  

– Activating the workshops, receiving and lodging the participants for ten days, four times per year  

– Organizing meetings with famous figures, both from the West and Arab World, working in literature and art fields, and having them at the mansion to be in direct contact with the participants  

– Establishing a center to receive intellectuals of all ages, similar to the international cultural centers that receive amateurs of all kinds of arts and literatures  

– Hosting the final ceremony to distribute awards at the end of each of the three sessions; organizing book signing and reading of all the completed works; inviting professionals and public  

We welcome your comments and suggestions as well as any assistance towards reaching those goals.  


Mohtaraf Director

Najwa BARAKAT was born in Beirut where she was graduated from High School and joined the Lebanese University to study theater at the Fine Arts Faculty. She immigrated in 1985 to France where she obtained her Degree in Cinema Studies. The author worked as a freelance journalist in a number of Arabic newspapers and magazines, and gathered the materials for several cultural programs produced by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). She also prepared the first fifteen episodes of the cultural program broadcasted at Aljazeera Channel “maw’id fil mahjar”, and completed number of feature and documentary scenarios.  

Najwa BARAKAT wrote five novels in Arabic, most of them were published by Dar al-Adab in Beirut, and some of them obtained awards and were translated into foreign languages. She wrote one novel in French, which translation will be published soon. She also translated Les Carnets de Camus  I – II – III to be published soon (summer 2010) by Kalima and Dar Al-Adab.  

The first novel The transformer (لمحوّل) was published in 1986, followed by Hamad’s passion (حياة وآلام حمد ابن سيلانة) in 1995, and The bus of honest people (باص الأوادم) in 1996, Winner of the «Best Literary Creation of 1996» Prize from the Lebanese Cultural Forum in Paris. The tenant of the Pot de fer street, novel written in French published by L’Harmattan Publisher in Paris, played on theater in France, winner of the First Prize at the Amateur Theatre Festival in Amiens city in France. In 1999, she published its novel “Ya-Salâm” (يا سلام) followed in 2004 by “The language of secret” (لغة السرّ) novel.  

Mohtaraf in the Press


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