Samah Selim Wins $12.5K NEA Grant to Translate ‘Sultana’

The US’s National Endowment for the Arts announced today the 25 translators who had won a total of $325,000 in grants to bring books into English:

Among them are a range of works, from books by Nobel Prize winners like Gabriela Mistral to works by authors who have yet to see a book-length work in English, such as Jordanian writer Ghalib Halasa.

It is multi-award-winning Samah Selim will be translating Halasa’s Sultana into English. From the NEA:

Halasa (1932-89) is the author of eight novels, two short story collections, ten volumes of criticism, and several Arabic translations of American and French literature. Born in a Christian village in Amman, Jordan, Halasa lived and served prison sentences in a succession of Arab countries from which he was eventually exiled. His writing reflects the story of Arab modernity, spanning four countries in the throes of dramatic transformation. Sultana is Halasa’s last and most autobiographical novel. It was named one of the 50 most important Arab novels of the 20th century by the Arab Writers’ Union in 2001 and was made into a Jordanian television drama in 2007.

Samah Selim is the translator of Memories of a Meltdown: An Egyptian between Moscow and Chernobyl by Mohamed Makhzangi, Neighborhood and Boulevard: Reading Through the Modern Arab City by Khaled Ziadeh, and Brooklyn Heights by Miral al-Tahawy. She won the 2009 Saif Gobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for her translation of The Collar and the Bracelet. She is the author of The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt, 1880-1985.

I would also add that she was brilliant translator of Arwa Salih’s brilliant The Stillborn and Jurji Zaidan’s highly entertaining classic Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt.

Find the full list of 2019 Literature Translation Fellowships, along with information about the translators and their projects, on the NEA website.