The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation has pleasure in inviting you to Celebrate Translating Arabic Fiction Today Robin Moger, Jonathan Wright & Paul Starkey – the winners of the last three years of the prize – in conversation with Wen-chin Ouyang 5.00pm, Saturday 3 March Djam Lecture Theatre, SOAS Main Building, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG Robin Moger’s winning translation is The Book of Safety by Yasser Abdel Hafez, Jonathan Wright won the 2016 prize for The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi, and Paul Starkey won the 2015 prize for The Book of the Sultan's Seal: Strange Incidents from History in the City of Mars by Youssef Rakha. This is a free event but do reserve your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ALL WELCOME
Amir Tag Elsir, Aziz Mohammed, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Shahad Al Rawi, Walid Shurafa and Dima Wannous have today (Wednesday 21 February), been announced as the six authors shortlisted for the 11th International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The books were revealed by the 2018 chair of judges, Ibrahim Al Saafin, during a press conference held at the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation in Amman, Jordan
When he had come to Suez four years earlier to work in the cultural centre, he had had a vague dream that he would find himself in this isolation and that he would sort out the chaos into which his life had descended. He hadn’t dreamed of any major change or great deeds, but he had said that cutting off his ties to Cairo would help him see things differently and that he would at least be able to adapt to the new reality and, most importantly, he would be able to put in order his relationship with the past.
This view is by no means exclusive to Aslan: in a cultural community characterised by its flattery and narrow interests, Alaa al-Deeb is widely regarded as a saint. Litterateurs of various generations view his writings on them as both an endorsement and a recognition of their talent. Indeed, what earned the late novelist his well-deserved stature was his objectivity and keenness to encourage the new voices in which he saw potential.
The 2017 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is awarded to Robin Moger for his translation of the novel The Book of Safety by Yasser Abdel Hafez, published by Hoopoe Fiction. After four novels made the first shortlist of the prize, announced on 1 December 2017, the judges are unanimous in naming Robin Moger as the winner of the £3,000 prize, to be awarded by the Society of Authors on 1 March 2018.
My models were great historians of Cairo: Jabarti and, before him, Ibn Iyas. It was very enjoyable finding and employing a unique language for the book, mainly because it was risky, a challenge, but also because it was an opportunity to think about words and their origins and how they fit together. It was a way of rediscovering and reanimating the Arabic language.
But suddenly, something happened that saved my life. As a young writer, I had been publishing poems, short stories and articles for years, in the local newspapers and magazines, under the pseudonym “Shakespeare of Baghdad”. The name caught the attention of military commanders, who were looking for writers and journalists to work in their propaganda wing, and began looking into my whereabouts, until in the end they found me and pulled me out of the hole where I had been buried
Because of the extraordinary state of emergency declared in America and Europe immediately after the terrorist incidents, I head directly from the coffeehouse to my Paris home. I am welcomed rather anxiously by my beloved house robot, Bahlul. His artificial intelligence programs system, which is linked to the internet, learned that danger threatens the entire inhabited world. The moment I arrive his eye’s cameras direct their electronic sensors
The identity crisis so keenly experienced by some of the characters in the novel is as personal as it is political. For example, “Darwish’s book” in the first chapter is Albert Hourani’s History of the Arab Peoples. Now dying of lung cancer, Professor Darwish begins to ponder the figurative cancer in all of his failed relationships. Hourani’s book opens a window into this dark world.
In the kitchen thirst fell down. His dreams trembled. The window was torn open, stabbed by lightning scattering in the hallways. His hands settled down and his soul reclined but there was nothing to lean on. They dived into clouds, drowning caught them and salt followed suit. Water flowed, sobbing until the walls were dry. The pictures flaked off the walls and glass leapt out of the wooden frames. The estrangement of his bed subdued, it makes him a nightcap.
Mohammed Hasan Alwan, Najwa Binshatwan, Ismail Fahd Ismail, Elias Khoury, Mohammed Abdel Nabi and Saad Mohammed Rahim have today, Thursday 16 February, been announced as the six authors shortlisted for the tenth International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).
Her last husband, who was the imam and muezzin of the mosque in Tidikelt, had drawn her attention thanks to his beautiful voice when it reminded the faithful to pray to their God five times a day. At first, the muezzin had been a little disconcerted when he’d heard his wife speak to her bees in Latin
We are very sad to report that our consulting editor Herbert Mason passed away suddenly on New Year's Day. The distinguished Professor Emeritus and the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of History and Religious thought at Boston University, author and translator of Louis Massignon's 4-volume work on The Passon of Al-Hallaj will be much missed around the world. We will always remember him through his writings and translations. All our deepest condolences and sympathies to his family. A full obituary and tribute will appear in Banipal 58
My sister, whom I haven’t seen for more than two years, told me she was going to cross the sea in a rubber dinghy. She hung up and didn’t want to hear what I thought. She just said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowns. A few minutes later I tried to call the unfamiliar Turkish number but the phone had been turned off
Die weitaus meisten Autoren, welche Sprachwechsler sind, nicht in ihrer Muttersprache schreiben und mehrere Herkünfte und Identitäten für sich reklamieren, entscheiden sich am Ende für eine der beiden Seiten. Dass Hussain al-Mozany sich nicht entscheiden konnte oder wollte, dürfte zwar dazu beigetragen haben, dass ihm größerer Ruhm versagt blieb. Es macht ihn auch unter den Autoren, die den Chamisso-Preis bekamen, zu einem Sonderfall
Jonathan Wright’s seamless English rendering does full justice to the original, exhibiting a sureness of touch that fully captures the spirit of the Arabic version. Although the particular cultural context of the work will be unfamiliar to many English-speaking readers, Wright’s ‘page-turner’ translation has a universal appeal, and it is difficult not to be moved by the predicament of the narrator, with his dual identity of Isa and José, as he comes to terms with the reality of life in Kuwait.
Three authors from the issue: Nouri A-Jarrah reads and discusses his dramatic poem A Boat to Lesbos, with a feast of images and Greek choruses of spoken voice in an elegy to all those forced to flee Syria by sea; performance poet Charlotte Van den Broeck, a household name in her native Belgium and a contributor to Guest Literature from Flanders, performs poems from her debut collection Chameleon with English translations by Astrid Alben; and Muhsin al-Ramli with his novel, The President’s Gardens (being published in English translation by Maclehose Press), unfurls the terror and tragedy at the heart of Iraq’s recent history.
It was a rainy day in Brussels, and on that cold, wintry day the view of the city was gloomy, gray and wet from that apartment window in the Matonge neighborhood. Everything from that view was awash with water: Shops, streets, the passenger’s faces, cars, trees, dumpsters, and the barstools on the sidewalk. Women, wearing rainy coats and umbrellas, walked slowly towards the Porte de Namur metro station from Ixelles Avenue, while others were running, trying to find shelter beneath the cornices and umbrellas of Boniface shops.
was born in Hama in Syria. He was a prolific writer, poet, playwright and critic, publishing his first collection of poetry, al-Dhul al-Akhdhar [The Green Shadow] in 1967 and since then 17 further collections. He also published two novels, twenty-four plays, translated twenty-three books from English, including the Iliad, the Odyssey and a biography of George Orwell, and wrote a number of television series.
Khaled Khalifa writes about his native city with sensuality and an almost feral intensity in his new novel, “No Knives in the Kitchens of This City.” The book focuses on just one family, and it stops several years short of the Syrian civil war. But it offers a glimpse into how terrified and empty of hope the people of a city must be to rise up in revolt. The future offers them nothing. It is a castle of closed doors.
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