Fifteen novels and one collection of poetry has been submitted to the 2019 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation:
The obvious choices for this year’s judges — Libyan author-doctor Ghazi Gheblawi, English priest-novelist Jan Fortune, Palestinian poet-scholar-translator Abla Oudeh, and English critic Catherine Taylor — would be those that have already been recognized by major awards: Marilyn Booth’s translation of Jokha Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies, which won the 2019 Man Booker International; Jonathan Wright’s translation of Mazen Maarouf’s Jokes for the Gunmen, which was longlisted for the same prize; and Leri Price’s translation of Khaled Khalifa’s Death is Hard Work, which is on the longlist of the in the “Translated Literature” category of the 2019 National Book Award.
Of course, the judges need not be beholden to the will of other prizes, and there are many worthy translations on the list, as well as several translators who have previously been recognized by the prize: Humphrey Davies, Michelle Hartman, Paula Haydar, William Hutchins, Robin Moger, Barbara Romaine, Paul Starkey, and Jonathan Wright.
There are no debut translators on the list.
The prize is an annual award of £3,000; a shortlist is expected in early December.
The list of sixteen:
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press Ltd, June 2018)
My Name is Adam: Children of the Ghetto, Volume I by Elias Khoury, translated by Humphrey Davies (MacLehose Press, UK / Archipelago Books, US)
Jerusalem Stands Alone by Mahmoud Shukair, translated by Nicole Fares (Syracuse University Press, April 2018)
After Coffee by Abdelrashid Mahmoudi, translated by Nashwa Gowanlock (Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press, May 2018)
A Sky So Close to Us by Shahla Ujayli, translated by Michelle Hartman (Interlink Books, March 2019)
Printed in Beirut by Jabbour Douaihy, translated by Paula Haydar, (Interlink Books, August 2018)
All That I Want to Forget by Bothayna Al-Essa, translated by Michele Henjum (Hoopoe Fiction, December 2018)
The Fetishists by Ibrahim al-Koni, translated by William M. Hutchins (Center for Middle Eastern Studies/UT Press, November 2018)
The Law of Inheritance by Yasser Abdellatif, translated by Robin Moger (Seagull Books, August 2018)
Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa, translated by Leri Price (Faber & Faber, March 2019)
A Cloudy Day on the Western Shore by Mohamed Mansi Qandil, translated by Barbara Romaine (Syracuse University Press, October 2018)
Praise for the Women of the Family by Mahmoud Shukair, translated by Paul Starkey (Interlink Books, March 2019)
States of Passion by Nihad Sirees, translated by Max Weiss (Pushkin Press, September 2018)
Where the Bird Disappeared by Ghassan Zaqtan, translated by Samuel Wilder (Seagull Books, July 2018)
In the Spider’s Room by Muhammad Abdelnabi, translated by Jonathan Wright (Hoopoe Fiction, September 2018)
Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf, translated by Jonathan Wright (Granta Books, January 2019).
You can find more about previous winners on the Banipal Trust website.