Nihad Sirees’s ‘States of Passion,’ Sherko Bekas’s ‘Butterfly Valley’ Wins PEN Translates Awards on ‘Increasingly Adventurous’ List
Yesterday, English PEN announced the latest round of PEN Translates awards, which includes a magic 16 books from 15 countries and 14 languages:
The title translated from the Arabic is Syrian novelist Nihad Sirees’s States of Passion, brought to English by Max Weiss, who previously translated Sirees’s acclaimed Silence and the Roar, which was published in English in 2013. That book also received a PEN award for outstanding writing in translation.
States of Passion is currently scheduled to come out from Pushkin Press in August 2018. Originally published in 1998, t is set among the Aleppan banat ‘ishreh, women who formed intense social and sometimes sexual and would meet in groups to sing and dance.
Butterfly Valley, translated from the Sorani Kurdish by Choman Hardi. It’s set to come out from Arc Publications in March 2018. According to the publisher, the book, by the “Kurdish poet of the century,” is a “poetic response to the atrocities coitted by Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish people in the 1980s.”
In the awards announcement, Ros Schwartz, co-chair of the Writers in Translation committee, said, “We’re delighted to see that publishers are becoming increasingly adventurous in their choices, and that, interestingly, a number of projects are translator-led, underscoring the pro-active role translators can play in bringing books to publishers’ attention.’”
Other books of interest: Men Don’t Cry by French-Algerian author Faïza Guène, translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone, which is set to come out from Cassava Republic in September 2018. And The Desert and the Drum, by Mauritanian author Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, translated from French by Rachael McGill. The latter is set to come out from Dedalus in June 2018.
More about Sherko Bekas
News and interviews:
More about Nihad Sirees
‘The Silence and the Roar’: On Life as a Silenced Writer – Interview with Sarah Irving
Two Views of ‘Syria Speaks’: A Lens on Syria Through the Arts – By Sarah Irving and Nadia Ghanem
Syrian Novelist Nihad Sirees: ‘Creative Writing is Stalled Today’ – From Jadaliyya
‘When They Start to Think Only God is With Them, This is Bad’ – From interviews on CNN and BBC
Nihad Sirees on Writers in Syria: ‘What Should We Talk About?’ – By M. Lynx Qualey, from Qantara
Novelist Nihad Sirees on Aleppo Then, Aleppo Now, Aleppo Imagined – From PEN Atlas
An interview with Sirees – “Politics and Prose”
Sirees in English:
Daddy Dearest: Inside the Mind of Bashar al-Assad – on Daily Beast
The Silence and the Roar: