New Novel Excerpts and More Online: Arab and Arabic Literature in Translation


59664_170143346462034_1959044478_nYasmin Hanoosh has translated “Siege of Najaf from Al-Sayyid Asghar Akbar by Murtadha Gzar

Mr. Asghar Akbar was on ArabLit’s best of 2012 list as a pick by Ali Badr, who notes the book “creates a fictional story about three sisters living near the shrine of Imam Ali, granddaughters of a genealogist who have been living in Najaf city since the end of ninetieth century. By means of lyrical prose and surrealist events, Gzar reviews the different historical stages of this Iraqi city up until the time of the American occupation. “

Elisabeth Jaquette’s translation of “Slice of Family News” by Ibrahim Aslan

The great Aslan passed away last year; a number of his works are awaiting your loving translation.

Nancy Linthicum’s translation of “April Girl” by Hamdy El-Gazzar

From the Egyptian novelist’s The Epic of Our Revolution, forthcoming.

Jamal Mahjoub’s “Tombouctou” on Granta

After about three days in Djenné the lizards begin to talk. They scamper up the walls of the hotel in the early morning sunlight, snapping at one another’s tails. Some are the colour of dirty canvas, others indigo blue with orange heads and tails. Most of the time they just stand still.


The World Poetry Portfolio, edited by Sudeep Sen in association with ATLAS Magazine profiles Egyptian poet Iman Mersal.

They include several translations by Khaled Mattawa: ‘Respecting Marx’, ‘Things Elude Me’, ‘He Marks the Weak Point’, ‘They Tear Down my Family Home,’ and ‘‘The Idea of Houses’ and one by Robyn Creswell, ‘Celebration.’

The Arab American News’ Ali Harb did a re-translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s “I Do Not Know the Stranger.”

The poem was previously translated by Mohammed Shaheen.


  1. Hi! Do you think there was any news in translation from Bahrain and Oman in the last years? I’m doing a project similar to Ann Morgan’s “A Year of Reading the World” and that’s why I’m so interested in arabic literature. The only option I’ve found from Oman is the same book that Ann have read (My Grandmother’s Stories: Folk Tales from Dhofar), but I’m still looking for other books. And I’ve just finished “The Scents of Marie-Claire” and I’m waiting for “The Women of al-Bassatin”. 😉

    1. Hi Camila!

      From Oman, there is (newly out), Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs, by Abdulaziz Al Farsi (trans. Nancy Roberts). It is definitely interesting, but an acquired taste, not built on the same patterns as Western novels. But interesting moments, anecdotes, patterns.

      From Bahrain, there is poetry newly in translation (like in Gathering the Tide). I don’t really have anything new novel-wise to recommend, although The Modern Novel blog says that “Yummah” is “readable”

      1. Thank you!!! I’ll try Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs.

        I’m impressed! You really seems to know everything about arabic literature! 🙂

        1. NOT AT ALL. And what I do know, it’s because of generous informants.

          1. Hi! I’ve came back to tell you that I’ve read “Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs” and I loved it! You were right, it’s not like Western novels, but it’s amazing! Thank you very much for your suggestion!

            1. Oh, I’m so delighted! Now…would you consider doing a review? 🙂

              1. I’m doing a review from every book I’m reading in this project. Oman is the next! But it’s in portuguese… I don’t know if I could write such a text in english, but maybe I could try!

                1. Or else we could do a Q&A about your whole project & then set within, you could talk about this & some other novels that have caught your attention.

                  1. It’s a great idea! 🙂 But I’ve read only 3 arabic books until now (Oman, Tunisia and UAE). Maybe I could read more before talk about them. What do you think? But you can send me the questions any time! (

Comments are closed.