Ibrahim Fawzy Makes ‘PEN Presents’ Shortlist for Translation of Khaled Nasrallah’s ‘The White Line of Night’

APRIL 18, 2023 — Thirteen titles representing works from ten languages have been shortlisted for the second round of PEN Presents, English PEN’s award for sample translations.

Among the awardees is Ibrahim Fawzy, for a translation of Khaled Nasrallah’s The White Line of Night.

PEN Presents aims “to fund literary translators’ work of creating samples, give publishers better access to titles from underrepresented languages and regions, and help diversify the translated literature landscape.”

The 13 shortlisted projects have been awarded grants to create 5,000-word samples, as part of PEN Present’s aim of funding the often-unpaid work of sample translation.

The White Line of Night, shortlisted for the 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, follows a protagonist obsessed by reading. According to IPAF organizers, the book follows a protagonist who:

As a young child, he would search for words and forage for scraps of paper containing letters and expressions. When he leaves school to begin work, he gets a job as copy editor in the Department of Published Works. However, at work, he is often disturbed and pained when he has to ban a book. It annoys him to have to refuse books which he likes, so he ends up breaking the rules. In the novel’s atmosphere of political dystopia, the authorities are in conflict with the people. The hero plays an important role in dramatic events which build up to a climactic, shocking finale.

Six samples will be chosen from the thirteen-strong shortlist by the PEN Presents Selection Panel to be showcased in an issue on the PEN Presents platform, an online catalogue of “the most outstanding, original, and bibliodiverse literature not yet published in English translation.” They will also be given editorial support from English PEN and promoted to UK publishers.

The full list of winners can be found at the English PEN website.