Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union): 51-60

This is where you’ll find 1-10 (and an explanation of this project), and here’s 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, and 41-50. Please do help me out with errors and omissions.

51 The Crane, by Syrian author Halim Barakat, was translated by Bassam Frangieh and Roger Allen and published by AUC Press.

Barakat, bless him, has a website, where he lists, among other things, all his translations.

52 The Story of Zahra, by the popular Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh. The book, which I remember loving, was translated by translated by Peter Ford and is out in numerous editions. Here from Anchor.

53 Wind from the South, by Abdelhamid Ben Haddouka, was the first Algerian novel published in Arabic.

I was not able to find any of Ben Haddouka’s work in English.

54 Crazy Paradise, by the Syrian writer Ahmed Youssef.


55 Wasmiya Comes Out of the Sea, by the Kuwaiti author Laila al-Othman, was excerpted in Banipal 3.

Al-Othman also has a story in the collection Oranges in the Sun: Short Stories from the Arabian Gulf, edited by Deborah S. Akers and Abubaker A. Bagader, from Lynne Rienner Publishers.

56 Confessions of a Silencer, by Jordanian writer Mu’nis al-Razzaz (1951–2002), was excerpted in Banipal 13.

57 Rubaiyyat Bahari, by Egypt’s Mohamed Gibreel.


58 Sana’a: An Open City, by Yemeni author Mohammed Abdul Wali.

From the Yemen Times:

In 2000, the al-Thaqafiah weekly editor-in-chief, Samir al-Yousofi, was imprisoned and prosecuted for republishing “Sana’a: an Open City” by famous Yemeni short story writer Mohammed Abdul Wali who died in the 1970s. He was accused of blasphemy and insulting Islam. The then Minister of Information Abdul Rahman al-Akwa stood by al-Yousofi who was harassed by the Islah party.

The case was later dropped as high ranking officials intervened to settle it.

Abdul Wali’s They Die Strangers is, however, available in English. It was translated by Abubaker Bagader and Deborah Akers and published by the University of Texas Press.

59 Granada, by the Egyptian author Radwa Ashour.  Granada was translated by William Granara (sometimes Bill Granara) and published by Syracuse University Press.

60 The Call of the Curlew or The Call of the Plover by Egypt’s Taha Hussein was translated by A.B. As-Safi and published by Palm Press.

I cannot fathom how this work could be so low on the list. If I had big money (or even medium money), I would sponsor a beautiful updated translation.