Bahaa Taher: One of the most respected living writers in the Arab world. Photograph: EPA/Mohamed Omar
As the Man Booker prize turns 40 this year, the foundation behind it has backed a new award, for the best novel of the year written in Arabic. Taher picked up the first $60,000 International Prize for Arabic Fiction last month in Abu Dhabi. The award was announced during the international book fair there, now a joint venture with Frankfurt, aimed at stimulating publishing in the region, with zero tolerance of rampant book piracy. Few Arabic novelists can earn a living from their books.