Translator Max Shmookler, who is currently co-editing a collection of Sudanese short stories with ArabLit contributor Raphael Cormack, continues to write, in a posts that first appeared on Baraza, about the challenges of bringing the “best” Sudanese literature into English.
Translator Max Shmookler, who is currently co-editing a collection of Sudanese short stories with ArabLit contributor Raphael Cormack, explores the tension between what Sudanese readers think is a great story and the story that will appear “great” in English translation.
There are a number of events that focus on Arab and Arabic literatures at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. Contributor Raphael Cormack attended two, and found that, “Where political analysis falls apart, literature and fiction can say something.”
Raphael Cormack was at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre on May 21 for a performance of “Day One” by Sara Shaarawi and Maryam Hamidi, directed by Nicola McCartney, a show that he says is like an Egyptian “Everyday Sexism.”
ArabLit and 7iber are jointly covering this year’s Internation Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) – in English and Arabic — beginning with reviews of the novels and interviews with longlisted novelists. We continue with Ashraf al-Khamaisi’s God’s Land of Exile, a book reviewer Raphael Cormack says has “earned its place on the longlist.”
Raphael Cormack sat down with Egyptian novelist and short-story writer Ashraf al-Khamaisi, to talk about writing, life, and his International Prize for Arabic Fiction-longlisted “God’s Land of Exile.” The interview in its entirety is on SoundCloud. Here, Cormack has extracted and summarized a few moments about writing, death, and translation.
Raphael Cormack (@RaphaelCormack) reviews Ashraf al-Khamaysi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)-longlisted God’s Land of Exile. This timeless-feeling novel, he says, has earned its place on the longlist.
The relatively new “Short Story Project” has already published several translations from Arabic, including works by Jan Dost, Waciny Laredj, and Alaa Hlehel.
“The more you start to look for romance novels in the 19th and 20th century Arabic, the more you begin to find.”
” Instead, people have been trying to find ways to approach it from different angles – to sneak up on the revolution from behind.”
The story is interesting for several reasons. It shows this Arabic cultural journal (marketed outside the US as much as within it) taking an interest in the American issues of the day – Prohibition had been brought in at the beginning of 1920. It is also an early example of modern Arabic speculative fiction. Most of all, it is a fun little story and glimpse into Jacob Raphael’s 1920s Arabic publishing venture.
The aim of the exhibition is to get beyond the general media picture of Sudan and provide a glimpse of the country’s cultural and artistic life.