Six authors from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt are on the shortlist as finalists for the first-ever International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The shortlisted books, chosen from 131 entries, are June Rain, by Lebanese writer Jabbour Douaihy; The Land of Purgatory by Jordan's Elias Farkouh; In Praise of Hate, by Syria's Khaled Khalifa; Walking in the Dust, by Lebanon's May Menassa; Swan Song, by Egypt's Mekkaoui Said; and Sunset Oasis, by Baha Taher, also from Egypt. Each of the finalists receives $10,000; the winner gets an additional $50,000. The top prize will be announced March 10 at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The award, backed by the Emirates Foundation, is intended as an Arabic counterpart to the prestigious Man Booker Prize, open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies. Jonathan Taylor, who chairs the award's trustees, said one of its goals was to "secure recognition, reward and readership for outstanding Arabic fiction of the highest quality." He said the prize would sponsor translation of the winning book into other languages.