Forthcoming: Banipal 43, Celebrating DJD

Earlier this week, Banipal sent out details of their 43rd issue, which will be a celebration of pioneer translator Denys Johnson-Davies.

Davies, who Edward Said once called “the leading Arabic-English translator of our time,”  has translated more than twenty-five volumes of short stories, novels, plays, and poetry, in addition to writing a number of children’s books, a memoir, and several works of fiction.

Banipal 43 is celebrating “the doyen of Arabic literary translation, Denys Johnson-Davies, as he reaches the age of 90 and his final book of translations, Homecoming, is published.”

The issue will also feature a number of works of fiction and poetry, including excerpts of the six novels shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and “guest literature” from Korea. 

One hopes that this issue of Banipal brings Johnson-Davies a bit more (well-deserved) recognition. He said, in an interview conducted last spring, that, “Translation is real hard work. It’s also not appreciated. … I would just like to say that translators need to be slightly more appreciated than they are. … After all, if you’re reading a translation, you are reading the translators’ words. That should be recognized.”

He added: “I would’ve preferred to have been a writer.”

Other scheduled issues include Banipal 44, with a focus on “Women Novelists,” set for release in the summer of 2012 and Banipal 45:Writing Palestine, which is scheduled for publication in the fall.

By Denys Johnson-Davies:

An extract of his translation of Hunger, by Mohamed al-Bisatie.

Translations of Mahmoud Darwish poems.

An excerpt of Johnson-Davies’ memoir, Memories in Translation.

“House of Flesh,” Yusuf Idris.

About Davies:

Denys Johnson-Davies on Translation (No, He Doesn’t Like It)


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