The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S. announced the 2014 recipients of the Hemingway Grant last month, and among the grant-ees were translations of works by two great Morrocan authors, Abdellatif Laâbi and Mohamed Nedali:
The Selected Poems of Abdellatif Laâbi, to be published by Archipelago in March 2016, promises to be “the first comprehensive selection from each one of Laâbi’s volumes to appear in English. It will include poems that span every poetry volume of Laâbi’s fifty-year career, chosen and with an afterword by the author himself.”
The collection, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith, follows a chapbook of Laâbi’s poems edited and translated by André Naffis-Sahely and published by the Poetry Translation Centre in 2013. Many of those translations can be found online. A more wide-ranging Selected Poems of Abdellatif Laâbi, edited and translated by Naffis-Sahely, who has previously translated Laâbi’s The Rule of Barbarism and The Bottom of the Jar, will also come out from Carcanet next year.
The grant-winning Nedali work is Morceaux de choix: les amours d’un apprenti boucher, to be translated by Naffis-Sahely and published by Ohio University Press in April 2016.
The first of Mohamed Nedali’s works to be translated into English, Morceaux de choix won the French Embassy’s Grand Atlas Prize and the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, as well as the International Diversity Prize at Cartagena in 2009.
Naffis-Sahely wrote in email that “I chose Prime Cuts because I want to translate all of his books (if I can) and so wanted to start with his debut. Also, as you know, publishers tend to prefer books that have won prizes, and Prime Cuts won two, so that helped. His sixth novel, The Garden of Tears, has just been published in France (I talk about it in my ‘Letter from Morocco‘) I think that would make a splash, but I have to convince someone to take it.”
Read the first chapter of Prime Cuts on Banipal:
Letter from Morocco: