Yesterday, the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) announced the longlists for the 2020 National Translation Awards (NTA) in Poetry and Prose. Two works translated from Arabic -- a novel and a collection of interlinked short stories -- made the twelve-book longlist for prose.
"He was an all-round writer with a strong social conscience, and after seeing how he reflected on society and its ills through the indirect allegorical lens of fiction I thought it would be interesting to see how he addressed the issues that concerned him through the more direct medium of a regular newspaper column."
Sheikhun Muharram disappeared.
Despite the passing of Naguib Mahfouz in 2006, plenty happened in the ongoing life of his work.
"I was trying to explore what I've been calling 'Mahfouz's Sufi Noir,' to see how and why he was drawn to both crime-writing and Sufi storytelling and the same time. When I read 'Culprit Unknown,' I couldn't believe how much it was like a detective story—and that it hadn't been translated yet!"
"We can’t know what Mahfouz intended to do with the fictions collected into 'The Quarter'. He might have considered them complete and ready for publication, or they might have been the seeds of a new novel."
In later years, he said that he had lost the manuscript due to a "family robbery," when a relative pilfered papers from his old house and sold them off.
"It’s all so damn tantalizing, you know?"
"Usefully, the Banipal list is not just a list, but also includes brief introductions to both the works and their authors, as well as some contextualization."
Saqi Books announced today that they will publish the as-yet-untitled collection, in Roger Allen's translation, in autumn 2019.
They are set to come out on December 11, Mahfouz's birthday, which also falls during the 2018 Beirut Arab Book Fair. Dar al-Saqi will publish the collection under the title chosen by Mahfouz's daughter, "همس النجوم" (The Whisper of Stars).
"I have not kept count of the books, both fiction and non-fiction, that I have edited since I joined the AUC Press in 1986, but each one has been different, each one has had its challenges and its rewards, and from each one I have learned many things."