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Wajdi Muhammad Abduh al-Ahdal is a Yemeni novelist, author of short stories, screenwriter, and dramatist. In 2010 an extremist campaign against his 2002 novel Qawarib Jabaliya (Mountain Boats) drove him into exile. When the German Nobel Laureate Günter Grass visited Yemen for a cultural conference in December 2002, he asked Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to protect the author, and al-Ahdal was then allowed to return to Yemen.
He has published several collections of short stories, including Zahrat al-Abir (The Passerby’s Flower, Sanaa, 1997); Surat al-Battal (Portrait of an Unemployed Man, Amman, 1998); Ratanat al-Zaman al-Miqmaq (Gibberish in a Time of Ventriloquism, Sanaa, 1998); and Harb lam Ya‘alam bi-Wuqu‘iha Ahad (A War No One Knew About, Sanaa, 2001). In addition to Qawarib Jabaliya, his novels include Himar Bayna al-Aghani (A Donkey in the Choir, Beirut, 2004); Faylasuf al-Kurantina (Quarantine Philosopher, Sanaa, 2007), which was nominated for the 2008 International Prize for Arab Novels, popularly known as the Arab Booker; and Bilad bila Sama’ (A Land Without Sama’[or a Sky], Sanaa, 2008), which has been published in English translation as A Land Without Jasmine, co-winner of the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Translation. He has also written a screenplay and a play, and his short stories have been published in anthologies and journals.