The nomination for the prize was for his short story collection Jokes for the Gunmen, which was written in Reykjavík. In an interview with public broadcasting, Maarouf says the stories cover memories and moments from the years of war he experienced in Lebanon in the 1980s.
Maarouf came to Iceland in 2011, having been granted asylum by the International Cities of Refuge Network, after having lived most of his life as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon.
“Literature can touch any mind,” Maarouf told the Grapevine around the time he was granted asylum. “It is very sad that on Earth there are tools of communication that have never been here before, like the internet, and the accessibility to knowledge, so the world is much more connected and yet some areas are totally out of the consciousness of other areas. I think if we can establish some link between Icelandic and Arab literature that will be very good.”
The Man Booker Prize is given out every year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. The other nominees for this year can bee seen here.