International Women’s Day: Translating, or Mistranslating, Arab Feminisms

Among other events, Egyptian writer Nawal al-Saadawi kicks off a two-week tour around England and Scotland on International Women’s Day.


On Translating ‘A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah, Perhaps Arabic’s Most Prolific Premodern Woman Writer

Th. Emil Homerin, author of the recently-published The Principles of Sufism, has long been interested in the work of ‘A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah, who is perhaps the most prolific and prominent woman who wrote in Arabic prior to the modern period. Homerin, a professor of religion and former chair of the Department of Religion & Classics at the University of Rochester, previously translated a collection of al-Ba’uniyyah’s poems as Emanations of Grace, and likens her work to that of the famous Persian poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi.

Translating for Bigots

Adam Talib recently gave a talk at the American University in Cairo on “Translating for Bigots.” Talib, who is working on his fourth literary translation, looked at a number of reasons why a reader might look at Arabic literature (in translation) with less sophistication than he’d look at English literature.

Where Are the Women in (Arabic) Translation?

According to translator Allison Anderson, “over the last two years, an average of 26% of the books of fiction or poetry published in the United States were by women.” However, the percentage of women’s (translated) books on prize lists is significantly lower.