Toward the end of his long career as an official in the Tunisian government, Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf Bin Diyaf took on the task of writing a history of his country. His work was a history with a thesis. Bin Diyaf sought to show the need for his country, and for that matter the larger Ottoman world, to adopt representative and responsive forms of government as existed in Europe.
His purpose was most clearly set out in the Muqaddima or Introduction to his monumental work, which Brown has translated. The ideas produced in this text roughly a century and a half ago were not institutionalized, but they did catch hold as ideas and goals influencing later developments. Set in an Iraqi village during the Iran-Iraq war, Scattered Crumbs critiques a totalitarian dictatorship through the stories of an impoverished peasant family.
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The narrator remembers the disintegration of his family as he leaves the village to search for his cousin, even as he realizes that the only thing he really knows of this cousin is his absence. This translation captures the subtle sarcasm of the original text and its elliptical rhythms. Iraqi novelist Muhsin al-Ramli lives in Madrid, Spain, where he is the editor of Alwah , a journal of modern Arabic literature and thought. Yasmeen Hanoosh is an Iraqi-born doctoral student in Arabic language and literature at the University of Michigan. She is the winner of the Arabic Translation Award.
It continues from the end of May through the September equinox of , narrating his efforts to remake himself through adjustments to his reading, writing, and eating habits, his dress, his posture, his family relationships, his love life The diary begins with a view of an Israeli bombing in South Lebanon and ends with a description of refugee families fleeing to the mountain villages. Otherwise, except for allusions to what is going on in the capital, the Lebanese Civil War is far from the story, although its violence has never been far from this village.
America, personified by a Lara who does not answer his letters, is a faraway land of nostalgia. The Civil War and the Occupation, the author seems to be saying, are not the only sources of turmoil. Jabbour Douaihy is a novelist and professor of French literature in the Lebanese University.
Autumn Equinox is the first of his novels to be translated into English. Nay Youssef Hannawi received her B. She lives in Kuwait where she works as a translator and teaches English at Kuwait University. Paradise, for the skeptic Mohammed Afifi, was just four steps down from his porch into a sunny garden. There he would sit, morning and evening, in the shadow of Tamaara, his beloved tamarhinna tree, soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of his precious corner of the natural world.
From an old yellow straw chair, Afifi would train his perceptive gaze on that garden in all its detail. Flora and fauna blessed him with honorary membership in their enchanted realm. Only the rare downpours of winter and the dust storms of spring could banish him indoors. Lisa J. Mohammed Afifi died in , in winter, just after completing this fictionalized memoir. Mohammed Afifi — received his degree in law from Cairo University, yet chose a career as a writer and journalist.
The first of his twelve books appeared in and this the last, Taraniim fii Dhill Tamaara , was published posthumously in In this, the first Nubian novel ever translated, Awad Shalali, a Nubian worker in modern Egypt, dreams of Dongola—the capital of medeval Nubia, now lost to the flood waters of the Aswan High Dam. In Dongola, the Nubians reached their zenith.
Idris Ali is the author of three short story collections and another novel, Explosion of a Skull. Peter Theroux is the author of three books and the translator of six. He lives in Washington, D. Marking collisions of culture and character, these stories arise at the frontiers where Arabic tradition melds with both the modern European world and a Gothic strata of the supernatural. She now owns her own publishing company. Samman has written a total of twenty-eight books in a variety of genres and has been translated into nine languages.
Arkansas Arabic Translation Award
Issa J. Born in Jerusalem in , he is a United States citizen, educated at the University of London, recipientof numerous awards and recognitions, and author of several books in both Arabic and English. Matar's Quartet of Joy is a multilayered poetic composition in four elemental keys: earth, fire, water, and air. While exemplifying Egyptian ethos, the poems also evoke African landscapes, ancient Greek philosophy, Bedouin culture, Islamic folk rituals, classical Arabian verse, Koranic citations, and Sufi aphorisms to create a lyrical arabesque.
The four sets of the volume create a musical structure that has the intimacy and the gracefulness of a quartet playing chamber music. The dazzling poetry is richly seeded with literary, political, and philosophical allusions. For the benefit of bilingual readers, the original poetry in Arabic is presented. The translation of Quartet of Joy is a unique work of Ferial Gahzoul and John Verlenden, combining poetic sensibility with scholarly knowledge.
What results is a work beautifully true to Matar's sweeping cultural vision and one that mirrors his broad use of contrapuntal styles and his ability to employ all the powers and motifs of Arabic language, literature, and history.
Improvisations on a Missing String tells the story of Saada Rayyis, who, after a mastectomy and prior to another operation which she may not survive, considers the course of her life with the purpose of understanding not only where she has been, but also where she is going. In her attempt to cope with complex feelings of alienation and insecurity, she struggles against traditional expectations in order to secure a sense of belonging and fulfillment - but always on her own terms. From her childhood in Palestine, through her university studies in Cairo, and finally as a teacher in Beirut, we follow the development of this independent woman as she comes to terms with her feelings about family, lovers, politics, art, and finally her own aspirations for belonging.
Janabi's poems deal with war, death, perception, and truth, drawing from his family life, his exile in Poland, violence in Iraq, and his experience in the United States. Through the eyes and heart of a sensitive, highly imaginative boy, Jabra describes the first sources of his artistic sensibility—the houses, fields, and orchards of his childhood and the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The First Well is the story of his intellectual and spiritual growth nurtured and encouraged by his family, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and his teachers.
His story is both captivatingly innocent and full of wisdom. Here is a chronicle of the experiences and events he drew upon as he became one of the leading authors of the Arab world. Jabra died in Baghdad on December 12, In a search through the lore of war-ravaged Lebanon, Elias Khoury weaves tales within tales. Among them are the stories of a Lebanese monk murdered in Jerusalem; of Faysal, an eleven-year-old Palestinian boy who witnesses the massacre of his parents, brothers, and sisters; of a friendship between an Arab and a Jew who meet in New York City; and of Widad, "the Circassian," a girl kidnapped from her village in Azerbaijan and sold as a maid in Beirut to Iskander Naffaa, who subsequently falls in love with her and abandons everything to marry her.
The novel takes place beside the Dead Sea and on the hills of Jerusalem, in the streets of Beirut, in the remote mountain villages of Lebanon, and in the alleys of Shatilla Refugee Camp. With every setting, Khoury elicits the legends and folk tales of the surroundings, tapping events from the turbulent history of the Middle East to divine the ways in which truths become myths and stories. To Khoury's narrator, these stories eventually grow to signify much more than the reality he lives day to day.
Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt by Jurji Zaydan
The story opens in a taxi in which we meet the five central characters, each seeking something to give life meaning: security, fame, wealth, dignity, recognition, freedom from fear and from tradition-sanctioned, dehumanizing practices. Educated in the United States in Arabic language and literuatre, she currently makes her home in Mafraq, Jordan. In her first collection published in English, Sahar Tawfiq explores the consciousnesses of young women alienated from their surroundings in today's rapidly changing Egyptian society.
In questioning the place of long-powerful myths and beliefs, she is in the forefront of writers examining the legacy of the Pharoahs as it permeates current Egyptian identities and practices, especially in the countryside.
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