Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union): 31-40

This is where you’ll find 1-10 (and an explanation of this project), and here’s 11-20 and 21-30. Please do help me out with errors and omissions.

31 Najran Under Zero, by the Palestinian Yaha Yakhlaf.

I could not find Najran Taht al-Sifr in English (see above for my horrible, literal translation), but I did see Buhayrah Wara’ al-Rih, translated as A Lake Beyond the Wind by May Jayyusi and Christopher Tingley, published by Interlink.

32 Lovers, by Palestinian author Rashad Abu Shawar, is reputedly “the finest novel to describe the misery of Palestinians in the refugee camp setting.

I could not find Lovers, but I did find an excerpt from Abu Shawar’s A Memoir of Return in Banipal issue 12. Also, you can read an excerpt from Abu Shawar’s memoir O Beirut in An Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature, edited y Salma Khadra Jayyusi.

33 Recognition, by Emirati author Ali Abu Al-Rish. I can find nothing by him in English.

34 The Palm and El-Jabran, by Iraqi author Gha’ib Ti’ma Firman. Nothing.

35 The Return of the Absent, by Saudi author Munther al-Qabbani. Nothing. There’s a Munther Qabbani on Facebook….

36 The Lamp of Umm Hashim. Finally! Yes, Yahya Hakki’s classic of early-modern Egyptian literature is in English, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies. Read a review, buy it, or read an excerpt on Google Books.

37 Return to Exile, by Egyptian author Abu El Maati Abu El Naga. I find nothing in English, although I could easily be getting the transliteration wrong.

38 The Lodging House, by Egyptian author Khairy Shalaby. This Naguib Mahfouz-medal winning novel is, yes, available in English. Read a review, a Google Books excerpt, and buy the book.  If you like it, AUC Press has more Shalaby forthcoming in December of this year.

39 Contact, by Tunisian author Aroussia Naluti.

I found a short story by Naluti, “You taught me to love life, Father,” in Banipal 24. No longer works in English that I can find.

40 Sultanah, by Jordanian author Ghalib Halasa.

PEN Atlas says Halasa’s works are among the best in Arabic literature, but mentions nothing about any in translation.

Banipal collected several of his newspaper columns in 26, and translated his short story “The Birthday” and an excerpt from his novel Al Khamasin in issue 6.

I glanced at 41-50, it looks a little easier. And it’s the half-way point. Oorah!

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4 comments

  1. […] 31-40 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Best Time for Writers – Alan Rinzler at Elliott Bay 1/23/10Granta to Publish Best Young Writers in Spanish in October 2010BTBA 2010 Fiction Longlist and My Review of News from the Empire by Fernand… Categories: Authors, Books Tags: Arab Writers Union, Arabic Fiction, Arabic Literature Comments (1) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

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  2. I will be travelling to Syria on Dec 26th. Would be interested in reading almost anything written by a Syrian author ( or from another country in the area) written specifically about people in his/her country that I can read in English. Unfortunately, I do not read Arabic.

    Many thanks.
    Barbara

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  3. I think my message, just posted, is not clear. Want to read specifically about Syrians……at the moment at least.
    Thank you.
    Barbara

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