4 of NEA’s Literature Translation Fellowships to Arabic Projects

The National Endowment for the Arts announced the 24 recipients of their Literature Translation Fellowships. Four are to support translations from Arabic:

Each of the 24 Literature Translation fellows are set to receive $12,500 each, for a total of $300,000. The fellowships will support the English translation of works from 19 countries; most are to translate works of award-winning and bestselling authors.

The four from Arabic are:

Robyn Creswell, to translate Iman Mersal’s Until I Give Up the Idea of Houses

From the NEA:

To support the translation from the Arabic of the poetry collection Giving Up on the Idea of Houses by Egyptian poet Iman Mersal. A female voice in a canon of Arabic-language verse mostly written by men, Mersal’s poetry is rooted in the everyday world of work, family, and friends (“the ones who pay taxes and walk on the earth,” as she writes). Born in 1966 in Mit Adlan, a small town in the Egyptian delta, she currently lives in Canada and her fifth collection of poetry, Giving Up on the Idea of Houses, explores the melancholic comedy of working and raising a family in a foreign country.

William Maynard Hutchins, to translate Mohammed Hasan Alwan’s A Small Death

From the NEA:

To support the translation from the Arabic of the novel A Small Death by Saudi Arabian author Mohammed Hasan Alwan. Alwan (b. 1979) has published five novels and was chosen in 2009 as one of the 39 best Arab authors under the age of 40 by Beirut39, an international collaborative project that celebrated promising Arab writers. A Small Death, published in 2016, is a fictionalized first-person account of the life of a Sufi saint, Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, from before his birth in Muslim Spain in the 12th century to his death in Damascus. A spiritual coming-of-age story of one of Islam’s greatest mystics, the novel won the tenth International Prize for Arabic Fiction and has never been translated into English.

Rebekah Maggor, (in collaboration with Palestinian playwright Mas’ud Hamdan), to translate new plays by Mas’ud Hamdan, Rama Haydar, and Bashar Murkus

From the NEA:

To support the translation from the Arabic of New Plays from Palestine: Theatre Between Home and Exile by Mas’ud Hamdan, Rama Haydar, and Bashar Murkus. This collection brings together bold and original new works by Palestinian writers from Damascus, Haifa, and the village of Isifya. The plays offer grassroots perspectives on war, exile, occupation, and displacement, and push the boundaries of dramatic form. This translation will make a major contribution to the small extant body of Arabic-to-English drama and the works of these three playwrights have not yet reached an American audience.

Suneela Mubayi (in collaboration with Rana Issa), to translate Tickets to Malta, London, and Paris by Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyaq

From the NEA:

To support the translation from the Arabic of the travelogue Tickets to Malta, London, and Paris by the Remarkable Aḥmad Fāris. Born in the village of Ashqūt in Mount Lebanon, Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyaq (1804-87) left Lebanon after his brother was tortured to death by the Maronite Patriarchy for being the first Arab convert to Protestantism. al-Shidyaq became a nomadic writer, working with missionaries on an Arabic translation of the Bible. His novel Leg Over Leg was recently translated into English. During his time in Malta, London, and Paris, he wrote detailed travelogues for an Arab readership, capturing the culture and lives of ordinary Europeans. Drawing from newspapers, literature, and his own keen observations, this travelogue offers a unique perspective on European cities in the throes of industrial modernity.

A full list of projects can be found at the NEA website.