Today: Announcement of Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

This year’s panel of judges is made up of scholars and translator-scholars: Tahia Abdel Nasser, Shereen Abouelnaga, Mona Tolba, Humphrey Davies, and Rasheed El-Enany.

What’s Wrong with 35 Naguib Mahfouz Translations?

To Arab readers Mahfouz does in fact have a distinctive voice, which displays a remarkable mastery of language yet does not call attention to itself. But in English he sounds like each of his translators, most of whom (with one or two exceptions) are not stylists and, I am sorry to say, appear not to have completely understood what he is really about.

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Miramar, by Naguib Mahfouz

I just noticed that, over at By the Firelight, Paul Doyle has posted a review of his summer reading challenge selection, Naguib Mahfouz's Miramar. (Miramar was a selection both by professor/translator Shakir Mustafa and writer/book editor/translator R. Neil Hewison.) It's been a while since I've read Miramar, so I'm grateful for the ways in which … Continue reading Summer Reading Challenge Review: Miramar, by Naguib Mahfouz

(New York) Publisher: ‘Arabic After All Is a Controversial Language’

I have an unhealthy fascination with translational gossip. So when I was reading Edward Said's 1989 afterword to Elias Khoury's Little Mountain---an afterword I don't like, as it fixates on Naguib Mahfouz and then finally admits that Khoury has nothing to do with Mahfouz---this caught my eye: ...a few years ago [before Mahfouz won the … Continue reading (New York) Publisher: ‘Arabic After All Is a Controversial Language’

Reading Challenge Update: Shakir Mustafa’s Top 5

Shakir Mustafa (not, you know, Mustafa Shakir) has finally turned in his reading challenge picks. Mustafa is the editor and translator of the excellent Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology. I found many gems in the collection, but was a particular fan of the first two stories: "The Turtle Grandmother" and "Yusuf's Tales," by Muhammad Khodayyir. … Continue reading Reading Challenge Update: Shakir Mustafa’s Top 5

The Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union): 1-10

Somehow, I thought I could quickly track down each of these 100 titles, translate them (roughly), note whether or not an English translation or excerpt exists, and be done with it. Apparently, my eyes were bigger than my fingers. So here you have it! The first 10 of the best hundred Arab novels selected by … Continue reading The Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union): 1-10