English PEN just announced the winners of their “PEN Promotes” and “PEN Translates” awards. Among the four “PEN Promotes” titles is Comma Press’s forthcoming Book of Khartoum, ed. Raph Cormack and Max Shmookler.
“On Thursday, Sept. 24, Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq al-Raddi will launch ‘He Tells Tales of Meroë: Poems for the Petrie Museum.'”
The majority of winners are translated from translated from Spanish (4), French (3), and German (2), but there are also books from the Danish, Tamil, Mandarin, and Arabic.
Khartoum’s popular used-book fair, temporarily shuttered because of the fear of government crackdowns on civil society, was back yesterday: The popular, vibrant used-book fair had been stopped at the end of last year, just before the shutdown of the Sudanese Writers Union…. Read More ›
Now, Mahfouz Bushra writes, Sudanese voices against the award have grown even louder.
“[A]s a direct effect, the banning halts the process of building a counter discourse, a discourse that contributes something to the idea of the citizen and equality.”
This year, the literature jury was made up of prominent literary artists: Syrian author Khaled Khalifa, Moroccan poet Yassin Adnan, and Algerian novelist Bachir Mefti.
“Meanwhile, we can at the very least draw our attention to Sudanese literature.”
Less than a week ago — after nearly ten years of continuous work — the Sudanese Writers Union was shut down.
Hammour Ziada on the IPAF: “Eritrean literature misses out, also Somali and Mauritanian, and these are Arab countries with authors who write in Arabic. For example, there is the Eritrean Hajji Gaber. I’m awaiting such a diversity.”
Today, Hammour Ziada became the first Sudanese author to win the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for his novel “The Longing of the Dervish.”
Translator Max Shmookler, who is currently co-editing a collection of Sudanese short stories with ArabLit contributor Raphael Cormack, continues to write, in a posts that first appeared on Baraza, about the challenges of bringing the “best” Sudanese literature into English.