Cover Reveal for Muhammad Abdelnabi’s ‘In the Spider’s Room,’ tr. Jonathan Wright

The cover from Muhammad Abdelnabi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted In the Spider’s Room has appeared:


This is markedly different, tonally and otherwise, from the Arabic original:

The book — which Ursula Lindsey and M. Lynx Qualey discussed in Episode 1 of the Bulaq podcast — was on the shortlist for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The novel has been vibrantly and compellingly translated by Jonathan Wright, and is forthcoming from Hoopoe Fiction at the end of July. You can read reviews on Mada Masr as well as the much-shared critique on “Notes from Over There.”

In the Spider’s Room centers around the story of Hany Mahfouz, swept up with others arrested in what was called the “Queen Boat” raid in Cairo in 2001. A densely realized net of characters surround the broken and deeply sympathetic Mahfouz.

Abdelnabi was also previously longlisted for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction The Return of the Sheikh (2011). In 2010, his short story collection, The Ghost of Anton Chekhov, won the Sawiris Literature Prize, and his latest collection, As the Flood Passes the Sleeping Village, won the prize for best short story collection at the 2015 Cairo Book Fair. He’s also a translator and critic.

Watch: The IPAF video where Abdelnabi discusses the novel. 

Read: My Grandfarther and Sitt Biba, tr. Nariman Youssef.