Mohammed Hasan Alwan’s ‘Ibn Arabi’s Small Death,’ tr. William Hutchins, Makes National Book Award Longlist

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 — Organizers today announced the 2022 longlist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature.

The ten titles on this year’s translated-literature longlist are from nine different languages. In addition to Arabic, there are books translated from Danish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, and Spanish. 

Prize organizers particularly noted that three of this year’s longlisted titles “explore mysticism, mythology, and religion across centuries,” including Mohammed Hasan Alwan’s Ibn Arabi’s Small Death (simply A Small Death in the original), which was also the winner of the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Prize organizers note that this is “a first-person fictionalized account of the life of Sufi master, poet, and philosopher Ibn Arabi. Translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins, readers follow Ibn Arabi as he travels through 11th and 12th-century Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East on a journey of self-discovery that profoundly influenced his future works.”

Publishers reportedly submitted a total of 146 books for this year’s prize, and the judges in the translated-literature category are: Nick BuzanskiVeronica EspositoAnn Goldstein (Chair), Rohan Kamicheril, and Russell Scott Valentino. The finalists in this category, as well as the other four, will be announced on Tuesday, October 4. Winners in all categories are set to be announced live on Wednesday, November 16.

For details on the full longlist, visit the National Book Foundation website.