Ibrahim Fawzy Wins a Second Round of ‘PEN Presents’ Support for Translation of Khalid Al-Nasrallah’s ‘The White Line of Night’

Seven samples, representing seven languages and seven regions have been selected for the second round of PEN Presents; among them is Ibrahim Fawzy’s translation of Khalid Al-Nasrallah’s The White Line of Night.

The seven winning titles were chosen from a shortlist of 13 projects and 16 translators, who were awarded grants to create samples of their proposed works, and have received editorial support from English PEN.

Judge Deema Al-Mohammad said of their selection:

Ibrahim Fawzy’s translation of The White Line of Night has moments of striking beauty scattered throughout, bringing focus and clarity to character of the Censor, whose agonising dichotomous struggles shape the narrative. Fawzy has shown a capacity for truly capturing the essence of the story and successfully relaying its tone and pace in a characteristic manner, creating a tincture of the dystopian Arabic original for English-speaking audiences to sample and enjoy.

An excerpt of the novel, shortlisted for 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, is available on English PEN’s website in Fawzy’s translation.

The translation opens:

At the path ahead, he looked to his right and left. Then he turned onto a narrow alleyway snaking behind the houses. He tuned in to pick up any unfamiliar nearby movement. He watched his footsteps, to avoid stepping on branches or dried grass. His senses were extremely sharpened, but the gales were muscular. They shook the trees by their roots. The whistling of the wind got suddenly sharper towards the end of the alleyway. And every time it beat his body, he remembered similar trips from his youth, heading to the little library at the edge of the neighbourhood. How had things turned into ruin? 

Read the whole excerpt and more at the English PEN website.