The Contenders: Best of Arabic Literature (in English) 2011

The list below does not include numerous books written by Arab authors in English, French, Swedish, and other languages, many of which I have read and reviewed. Books with a (-) are those that I have requested but not (yet) received.

With that in mind, tomorrow, I’ll publish the ArabLit(TM) Favorites of 2011. This year’s categories are Favorite Gift Book, Favorite Novel, Favorite Revolutionary Read, Favorite from the Diaspora, and Favorite Overall. I will not be so bold as to claim a best translation (even though I have covered myself with the fig leaf of the word “favorite”).

Alice James Books (1)

(-)Hagar Before the Occupation, Hagar After the Occupation, Amal al-Jubouri, trans. Rebecca Gayle Howell with Husam Qaisi

 Archipelago (1)

In the Presence of Absence, by Mahmoud Darwish, trans. Sinan Antoon (Review here and here.)

AUC Press (13)

The Hashish Waiter, Khairy Shalaby, trans. Adam Talib (Review here. Q&A with translator here.)

The Traveler and the Innkeeper, Fadhil al-Azzawi, trans. William Hutchins (Review here and here.)

So You May See, Mona Prince, trans. Raphael Cohen (Review here. Q&A with translator here.)

The Essential Naguib Mahfouz, ed. Denys Johnson-Davies (Review forthcoming.)

(-)Love in the Rain, Naguib Mahfouz, trans. Nancy Roberts

(-)Heart of the Night, Naguib Mahfouz, trans. Aida Bamia

(-)The Coffee House, Naguib Mahfouz, trans. Raymond Stock

Messages from Tahrir, ed. and trans. Karima Khalil (Review here.)

Judgment Day, Rasha al-Ameer, trans. Jonathan Wright

A Tunisian Tale, Hassouna Mosbahi, trans. Max Weiss

Brooklyn Heights, Miral al-Tahawy, trans. Samah Selim (Report about the book winning 2010 Mahfouz medal here and here.)

(-)The Magic of Turquoise, Mai Khaled, trans. Marwa Elnaggar

Midaq Alley, Naguib Mahfouz, re-translated by Humphrey Davies

Bloomsbury (1)

(-)One Thousand and One Nights, by Hanan al-Shaykh

Bloomsbury/AUC Press (1)

I Was Born There, I Was Born Here, Mourid Barghouti, trans. Humphrey Davies

BQFP (6)

The Tobacco Keeper, Ali Bader, trans. Amira Nowaira (Review here and here. Q&A with translator and author.)

Vertigo, by Ahmed Mourad, trans. Robin Moger (Brief review forthcoming in Egypt Independent.)

An Iraqi in Paris, by Samuel Shimon, re-translated by Piers Amodia and Christina Phillips (Mini reviews here and here.)

(-) Utopia, by Ahmed Khaled Towfik, trans. Chip Rossetti

The Art of Forgetting, by Ahlem Mostaghnemi, trans. Raphael Cohen

Reflections on Islamic Art, ed. Ahdaf Soueif (Review forthcoming, Egypt Independent.)

Garnet (1)

(-) Professor Hanaa, Reem Bassiouney, trans. Laila Helmi

Interlink (2)

We Are All Equally Far from Love, by Adania Shibli, trans. Paul Starkey

Always Coca Cola, by Alexandra Chreiteh, trans. Michelle Hartman

Interlink/Swallow (1)

Sarmada, by Fadi Azzam, trans. Adam Talib (Mini-review here.)

Ithaca Press (2)

(-)The Nabati Poetry of the United Arab Emirates: Selected Poems, Annotated and Translated into English, ed. Clive Holes and Said Salman Abu Athera

(-)Early Arabic Poetry: Select Poems, ed. Dr Alan Jones

Quartet Books (1)

Homeless Rats, Ahmed Fagih

Quercus (1)

As Though She Were Sleeping, Elias Khoury, trans. Humphrey Davies (Review here.)

Saqi Books (3)

Emerging Arab Voices: Nadwa 1, ed. Peter Clark

(-)Zeina, by Nawal al-Saadawi, trans. ?

(-)A Reader of Modern Arabic Short Stories, ed. Sabry Hafez and Catherine Cobham

Syracuse University Press (2)

(-)A Muslim Suicide, Bensalem Himmich, trans. Roger Allen

(-)Through the Eyes of Angels, by Mahmoud Saeed, trans. Samuel Salter, Zahra Jishi, and Rafah Abuinnab

Zaidan Foundation (1)

(-)The Conquest of Andalusia, Jurji Zaidan, trans. Roger Allen

Also: Collections and magazine issues

Banipal 41 and 42 and Metamorphosis special Arabic double issue.

Note: Please let me know what’s missing from the above list. I may even have it on my desk. I can be a bit forgetful.



Categories: Uncategorized

10 replies

  1. yikes, the stuff i haven’t read …

  2. By the way, how about Elias Khoury’s ‘As though she were sleeping’ ?

  3. Oh, duh… I completely missed it, sorry! Really enjoying your Best of, thanks for having compiled it, I hope next year there will be more poetry published!

    • Alphabetical by publisher was probably not the best way to do it… Hrm. And Khoury’s book could be in next year’s best-of. We’ll see what magic Marilyn Booth can work with the translation. Definitely a difficult one.

  4. Do you know if Booth is working on a translation of a Hassan Daoud novel?

  5. Thanks! Yes, that will be an interesting comparison excercise. What a shame in a way that there will be two versions of the same novel published within a year or so when there are so many other books out there waiting to be translated… Yes where is @zuberino :-)

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