A few of the authors and translators who left us in 2019:

February 2019

Iraqi Novelist Alaa Mashzoub Assassinated

Outspoken Iraqi novelist Alaa Mashzoub was fired on by gunmen in front of his Karbala home in February. He was struck by 13 bullets and died at the scene. Mashzoub was 50.

In the hours before his death, according to NAS News, Mashzoub had been meeting with fellow writers at his home near the city center. According to Kitabat, the shooting took place in the evening, in a secure zone that should have been closed off. The shooters reportedly arrived on motorcycles.

April 2019

Poet and Novelist Mohcine Akhrif Dies by Electric Shock at Book Event

Moroccan poet and novelist Mohcine Akhrif (1979-2019) died Sunday at a regional book fair in the northern city of Tetouan.

Algerian Writer Aziz Chouaki Has Died

Poet and playwright Aziz Chouaki, who had lived in France since 1991, died at the age of 67.

Ahmed FagihLibyan Novelist Ahmed Fagih, 76

Libyan novelist Ahmed Fagih (1942-2019), best-known for his twelve-volume historical epic Maps of the Soul, died at the end of April at a hospital in Cairo.

He made the Arab Writers Union’s list of the “top 105 novels” of the twentieth century, with his Gardens of the Night trilogy. The trilogy also won the prize for best novel at the 1991 Beirut Book Fair.

May 2019

Translator Issa J. Boullata, 90

Palestinian literary scholar, author, educator, and translator Dr. Issa J Boullata died peacefully on May 1, 2019 at the age of 90.

Issa authored both scholarly and fictional works, and was also a translator of many books of poetry, fiction, and memoir, including works by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Mohamed Berrada, Emily Nasrallah, and Ghada Samman. He was a two-time winner of the University of Arkansas Press Award for Translation from Arabic, and he also wrote in Arabic, including a novel Returning to Jerusalem and a biography of Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab.

10 Translated Poems by Fawzi Karim (1945-2019)

A book of Karim’s poems adapted to English, Incomprehensible Lesson: In Versions by Anthony Howell, was published shortly before his death.

Karim wrote more than 20 books of poetry, a novel, and some 15 works of art and music criticism. Born in Baghdad in 1945, Karim studied at Baghdad University, lived in Lebanon from 1969-1972, and then moved to London since 1978, where he lived until his death.

September 2019

In Memoriam: Sami Abdul-Hamid

Sami Abdul-Hamid, one of the most significant directors of the modern Iraqi theatre, died on Sunday, 29 September 2019, at the age of 91.

October 2019

Remembering Ibrahim Fathi (1931-2019)

Egypt’s “curbstone critic.”

Amjad Nasser, 1955-2019

In May of this year, Jordanian poet, journalist, and novelist Amjad Nasser published a small cycle of poems online about coming to terms with the end of his life after his brain tumors had resisted treatment.

The poems were written after a visit to Charing Cross Hospital in London, at which Nasser had apparently been told that treatments had failed to control the tumors growing in his brain.

According to multiple reports, Nasser died Wednesday. He was 64.

December 2019

One of a kind translator of Latin American literature Saleh Almani dies in Spain

Syrian-born Palestinian Saleh Almani, a one of a kind translator who helped translate a whole library of Latin American literature into Arabic, died today in Madrid at the age of 70.