“Settling is the death of nomads: the scarecrow, then, is the fate of settling down.”
“William M. Hutchins’ translation of New Waw: Saharan Oasis masterfully channels the poetic rhythms of Ibrahim al-Koni’s tale of a group of Tuareg, struggling with their evolution from a nomadic tribe to a settled community and the tensions that inevitably arise.”
“There are few names in the narrative, and only a few characters who appear throughout the novel to guide the reader through. It is easier to regard the landscape as the only consistent character.”
The American Literary Translators Association yesterday announced the shortlists for the 2015 National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose, and Ibrahim al-Koni’s “New Waw,” trans. William Hutchins, made the cut.
“I decided to translate him after reading the first few pages of ‘The Confines of the Shadow,’ so almost immediately.”
Yesterday, poet and translator Khaled Mattawa was on NPR’s “Here & Now,” talking about poetry and translation, and most of all how translation has informed his own work.
The last month has been a tense time in Benghazi. Hundreds have died in the fight for Libya’s second city, and literary hopes — like others — have been put on hold. But Nada Elfeituri still writes, and still holds a candle for the “Young Writers of Benghazi” group.
Wednesday morning, the MacArthur Foundation announced its list of “Genius Grants.” On the list to receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 is Libyan poet and translator Khaled Mattawa, who said he plans to use the money to further his translations and take on larger projects.
As translator Khaled Mattawa wrote, and Etwebi himself posted on Twitter, the Libyan poet’s home has been attacked and occupied by militia on August 25.
Alessandro Spina — the nom de plume of Benghazi-born author Basili Shafik Khouzam — died last year, two weeks before André Naffis-Sahely came to an agreement with a London publisher to translate his epic “The Confines of the Shadow,” which, Naffis-Sahely writes, “belongs alongside panoptic masterpieces like ‘Buddenbrooks,’ ‘The Man Without Qualities’ and ‘The Cairo Trilogy.'”
Libyan poet, translator, and short-story writer Ghazi Gheblawi has been enthusiastically tweeting about Mansour Bushnaf’s “Chewing Gum,” now out in English translation, by Mona Zaki, from Darf Publishers. So, what’s the big deal about “Chewing Gum”?
If there is a single author who should be associated with contemplation of the relationship between humanity and the desert, and the desert and creative writing — post-Ibn Khaldun — it is Libyan novelist Ibrahim al-Koni. He recently spoke with the Louisiana Channel in an interview titled “In the desert we visit death.”