Coming in June: Historical Fiction & Animal Stories

Book publication dates shift, and thus we are supplementing the annual list of forthcoming literature in translation with monthly lists, which we hope are more accurate. If you know of other works forthcoming this month, please add them in the comments or email us at


The Turban and the Hat, by Sonallah Ibrahim, tr. Bruce Fudge (Seagull Books)

From the publisher: “The Napoleonic-era French invasion and occupation of Egypt are often seen as the Arab world’s first encounter with the military and technological prowess of the West—and it came as a terrible shock. The Turban and the Hat tells the story of those three tumultuous years from the perspective of a young Egyptian living in late-eighteenth-century Cairo. Knowing some French, he works as a translator for the occupiers. He meets their scientists and artists, has an affair with Bonaparte’s mistress, and accompanies the disastrous campaign to take Syria, where he witnesses the ravages of the plague and the horrific barbarism of war. He is astonished by the invaders’ lies and propaganda, but he finds that much of what he thought he knew about his fellow Egyptians was also an illusion.”

A review by Hassan Khan at Bidoun.


Sons of the People: The Mamluk Trilogy, by Reem Bassiouney, tr. Roger Allen

Reem Bassiouney has two historical novels out in English translation this year, both translated by Roger Allen. The other, Fountain of the Drowning, came out from Diwan Books earlier this year.

This book, winner of a Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Literature for the 2019-2020 prize cycle, is a family saga set during Egypt’s Mamluk period, and it centers on three generations of Egyptians who are descended from foreign-born Mamluks.

Watch Reem Bassiouney give YouTube talks on “Code Switching: Linguistics and Writing the Arabic Novel” and “A Writer, a Vision, a Journey.”


Cover for the book: Animals in Our Days

Animals in Our Days, Mohamed Makhzangi, tr. Chip Rossetti (Syracuse University Press)

An unflinching collection of short stories by acclaimed Egyptian author Mohamed Makhzangi, who has a keen and sensitive eye for the behavior of animals—especially homo sapiens.