Two Translations from Arabic Shortlisted for 2023 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation has announced their 2023 shortlist, which includes two books translated from Arabic: the powerful work of literary reportage What Have You Left Behind, by Bushra al-Maqtari, translated by Sawad Hussain, and the immensely joyful and wide-ranging urban-fantasy graphic novel Your Wish Is My Command (or Shubeik Lubeik in the US edition), by Deena Mohamed, translated by the author.

The 2023 shortlist was selected from a longlist of 16 titles and includes eight titles from seven languages. Arabic is the only language represented twice.

The £1000 prize was established by the University of Warwick in 2017 to, according to organizers, “address the gender imbalance in translated literature and to increase the number of international women’s voices accessible by a British and Irish readership.” The prize is now in its seventh year; this year, organizers received 153 eligible entries representing 32 languages, which they say is the largest number of submissions to date.

The winner is set to be announced on the 23rd of November at a ceremony in London.

In a prepared statement, Judge Boyd Tonkin said of the 2023 shortlist:

This year’s eclectic shortlist travels far and wide – not only in the cultural and linguistic background of the authors chosen but in the genres and forms they use. From Yemen to Denmark, and from China to Mexico, our finalists confirm that outstanding women’s writing from around the world now reaches English-language readers in books of every kind.

A wildly inventive graphic novel; a devastating documentary account of civilian casualties of war; an ideas-packed comic family saga; a haunting memoir of landscape, nature and history; a witty and caustic suite of linked short stories: the shortlist embraces all this and much more, with each work carried into English by translators of exceptional skill and flair.

Last year’s prize was jointly awarded to Marit Kapla’s Osebol, translated from Swedish by Peter Graves, and Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell.

The prize is judged by Amanda Hopkinson, Boyd Tonkin, and Susan Bassnett.