New Library-recommendation Project: 10 from Tasnim Qutait

Our second list of 10 for public libraries is from Tasnim Qutait — a postdoc at SOAS currently working on migration and security and a literary translator moving between Arabic-English-Swedish — and also the force behind Arab Hyphen: Arab Arts and Literature:

For these lists-of-ten, ArabLit is interviewing scholars, critics, and translators, and other bibliocentrics about the Arabic Literature in translation they would recommend for US’s public libraries. Eventually, this will build to a list of 100 book-buying recommendations. Having searched a number of public-library systems, we’ve decided there is no particular need to recommend Arabic’s only Nobel literature laureate Naguib Mahfouz, although library systems should make sure he’s not searchable only as “Mahfuz, Najib.”

We kicked off the series with ten suggestions from Emily Drumsta. The ten(ish) from Tasnim Qutait:

1. The Lamp of Umm Hashim and Other Stories by Yahia Hakki, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

2. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

3. The Golden Chariot by Salwa Bakr, translated by Dinah Manisty

4. The Stone of Laughter by Hoda Barakat, translated by Sophie Bennett

5. Granada by Radwa Ashour, translated by William Granara

6.Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories by Ghassan Kanafani, translated by Hilary Kilpatrick

7. The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees, translated by Max Weiss

8. Classical Arabic Literature: A Library of Arabic Literature Anthology, edited by Geert Jan Van Gelder

9. Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Modern Arabic Drama edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Roger Allen

10. When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry, edited by John Asfour and/or Modern Arabic Poetry, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi.


  1. Here are my recommendations: Palestine’s Chldren by Ghassan Kananfani.
    The Corpse Exhibition by Hassan Blasim.
    The Hedgehog and Other Stories by Zakaria Tamer
    Noble Origins by Sahar Khalifeh
    Sadder Than Water by Samih Al Qasim ( poetry)
    Victims of A Map: Samih Al Qasim, Adonis, and Mahmoud Darwish trans. Abdullah al-Udari
    Sitt Marie Rose- Etel Adnan
    On Entering The Sea- Nizar Qabbani
    The Butterfly’s Burden- Mahmoud Darwish
    Modern Palestinian Literature Anthology by Salma Jayyusi

    I would say that these writings represent the finest and most intense and artistically stunning works of Middle East Literature over the years


    1. Thanks!

        1. 10 is perfect. 🙂

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