Banipal 43 salutes the doyen of Arabic-English translation, Denys Johnson-Davies. Since his first translation in the 1940s, he has introduced an impressive list of classics of contemporary Arabic literature, prose as well as poetry. His lifelong work has been instrumental in placing modern Arabic literature on the international scene, and allowed classics such as Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North the international fame they so well deserved.
Banipal 43 brims with a cornucopia of fiction and poetry from across the Arab world, with fiction from Morocco (Hassan Najmi), Libya (Saleh Snoussi), Lebanon (Jad El Hage) and Egypt (Nael El Toukhy), and poems by Saadi Youssef (Iraq), Maram al-Massri (Syria), and Youssef Rakha (Egypt).
The issue opens with Kuwaiti poet Saadiah Mufarreh, followed by Tunisian author Khaled Najar, who embarks on a literary journey through Alexandria’s history, filled with nostalgia and melancholy. In an in-depth interview renowned Egyptian author Sonallah Ibrahim talks about his writing, his long career – and the future of Egypt after last year’s revolution and the recent elections.
With the winner of the 2012 International Prize for Arabic Fiction announced on 27 March, Banipal 43 publishes excerpts from each of the six shortlisted novels – a collaboration between Banipal and the Emirates Foundation.
Our Guest Literature in this issue is from Korea: four fiction writers and four poets bring readers some of the best of today’s Korean poetry and novellas over 111 pages, introduced by two of Korea’s foremost literary critics.
Last Page: Rachida el-Charni’s Letter from Tunis is a timely warning of what is really going on in Tunisia.