Last Women in Translation Month (#WiTMonth), we ran a weekly series of “9 Stories” lists; each Wednesday, we ran a new nine-work literary listicle of short fiction by women from different nation-states or regions. In 2021, we featured short fiction by Sudanese and South Sudanese women, by Algerian women, by Egyptian women, and by Syrian women, all in translation.
#WiTMonth lists are necessarily idiosyncratic, reflecting not only the tastes and knowledge of the list-makers, but also what’s available in translation. In this case, our lists also reflect what’s accessible online.
For most Palestinian women writers, only a story or two from their oeuvre is available in translation. There are a handful of full-length short-story collections by Palestinian women writers in English translation; Comma Press brought out Nayrouz Qarmout’s The Sea Cloak, which was translated by Perween Richards (with Charis Bredon, who translated the title story), and later this year, a collection of stories by the great Samira Azzam (1927-1967) will finally be available in Ranya Abdelrahman’s translation.
Several more Palestinian women writers have nearly a collection’s worth of stories that have appeared in various publications. These include well-known and celebrated writers like Adania Shibli, Liana Badr, and Sheikha Hussein Hlewa. While the first two have novels available in translation, Hlewa, whose speculative collection Order C345 won the prestigious Almultaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story, is yet to have a book in English translation.
Although it was tempting to offer multiple works by favorite authors, and by authors who have been prolifically translated, we have kept the list to one story each.
Our thanks to all the translators, publications, and publishers for using their art and craft to make these stories available to new audiences.
The nine stories:
“Isolated,” by Adania Shibli, translated by Katharine Halls (New Directions Books)
“Badia’s Magic Water,” by Maya Abu Al-Hayat, translated by Yasmine Seale (Morning Star Online)
“The Roc Flew Over Shahraban” by Samira Azzam, translated by Ranya Abdelrahman (The Common)
“The Stranger” by Abeer Khshiboon, translated by Nashwa Gowanlock (The Common)
“Who Drew the Curtains?” by Sheikha Hussein Helawy, translated by Nariman Youssef (The Common).
“Oh, My Nana” by Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud, translated by Nashwa Gowanlock (The Common)
“Your Baby” by Asmaa Alghoul, translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid (Words Without Borders)
“The Sea Cloak,” by Nayrouz Qarmout, translated by Charis Bredon (YouTube, from Comma Press)
“Letters from the Sea,” by Liana Badr, translated by Omnia Amin and Aida Bamia (World Literature Today)
Last year’s lists: