was born in Tübingen, Germany, in 1944, and in 1972 moved to Switzerland, where he still lives.

Since the mid-’80s he has been translating contemporary Arabic literature and in 2008 achieved the publication of his fiftieth literary translation – novels and short stories – mainly from Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and Libya.  By 2022 his published translations number about 70, mostly novels, and include works by Palestinian authors Emile Habiby, Ghassan Kanafani and Sahar Khalifeh; many major authors from Egypt including Naguib Mahfouz, Sonallah Ibrahim, Gamal al-Ghitani, Salwa Bakr, Edwar al-Kharrat, Mansoura Ez Eldin and Alaa al-Aswany; from Libya Ibrahim al-Koni; from Lebanon Emily Nasrallah; from Saudi Arabia Raja Alem; from Iraq Hassan Blasim, Inaam Kachachi and Ahmed Saadawi; and Khaled Khalifa from Syria. 

Banipal 32 (Summer 2008) includes an interview with Harmut Fähndrich on being a literary translator of contemporary Arabic literature. For full details of his translations, and the dozens of articles he has written and other works he has translated (books listed in bold) from Arabic into German, click here.

From 1984 to 2010 he was the editor of the series “Arabic Literature in German Translation“ for Lenos Verlag in Basel, Switzerland. He has received several awards for his translation activities, most recently, in March 2016 Switzerland's special Grand Prix de Littérature for Translation, the first time awarded for translation from Arabic. For more on that award, click here.  In 2018, he was awarded the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding (Qatar).  

He studied studied Semitic Philology, Islamic Studies, Arabic and Comparative Literature at the Universities of Tübingen and Münster in Germany, and received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1978 till 2014 he taught Arabic language, literature and civilization at the Swiss Federal University of Technology in Zurich, and was guest lecturer at the universities of Lyon, Freiburg, Naples, Basel and Amsterdam.

In 2022, on 10 November, Hartmut Fähndrich will deliver the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize Lecture at the British Library.

For more information, please go to Hartmut's own website http://www.hartmutfaehndrich.ch/

Contributor's Issues

Banipal 17 - Summer 2003

Banipal 32 - Summer 2008

Banipal 53 - The Short Stories of Zakaria Tamer (2015)