Friday Finds: New Stories in Translation by Mazen Maarouf and Najwa Binshatwan

New short stories by Almultaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story’s inaugural winner — Mazen Maarouf — and 2019 longlistee Najwa Binshatwan are now online:

Maarouf’s “The Story of Anya,” translated by Jonathan Wright (who also translated Maarouf’s Jokes for the Gunmen), is on Granta. 

It opens:

Anya had cancer. That was the talk of the whole building. She was ill and would die. But her health never grew worse and she never showed any obvious signs of the disease. Then she suddenly died, without any forewarning. No one expected it to happen like that. Anya and Anya’s mother and father all got cancer in the same year. Her father was diagnosed first, her mother some weeks later. Then Anya had similar symptoms and the pain was almost the same, but her parents weren’t brave enough to take her to the doctor. They didn’t bring the subject up or discuss it. It was all more than they could bear. They preferred not to know for certain, and until they died they acted as if everything was normal. That was in the same year too, a few days apart from each other. Before they died they sent Anya to her mother’s brother. Then they died at home and Anya survived. Her mother died first, and her father realised he would follow her soon, very soon, and so he didn’t have her buried. He remained lying beside her dead body and that’s how they found him.

You can read part of the story on Granta; part is behind their paywall.

Adi magazine, meanwhile, has published Najwa Binshatwan’s “Where Are You Running To This Evening,” brought to English by award-winning translator Sawad Hussain.

Binshatwan’s “Return Ticket” is available as a Kindle single in Hussain’s translation; Hussain is also translating Binshatwan’s PEN Translates-winning Catalogue of a Private Life (كتالوج حياة خاصة) by Najwa Binshatwan. It’s forthcoming from Dedalus Africa next year.