3 October 2017: 2018 Banipal Visiting Writer Fellow announced


Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship logos

The Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship 2018


St Aidan’s College of the University of Durham and Banipal magazine of modern Arab literature are delighted to announce that the Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship 2018 has been awarded to Libyan academic, novelist and playwright Najwa Bin Shatwan.


Najwa Bin Shatwan

Najwa Bin Shatwan. Photo © Kheridine Mabrouk

Najwa Bin Shatwan is the author of three collections of short stories and three novels, including The Slave Pens, which was shortlisted for IPAF 2017 (aka Arabic Booker). In 2005, her novel The Horses' Hair won the inaugural Sudanese al-Begrawiya Festival prize, when Sudan was Capital of Arab Culture. She was chosen as one of the 39 best Arab authors under the age of 40 by the Beirut39 project and her story The Pool and the Piano was included in the Beirut39 anthology, which was published by Bloomsbury in 2010. Her work will also be featured in Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations, which will be published soon by Commapress, and will showcase new works by previously unplatformed writers.

St Aidan’s College of the University of Durham and Banipal magazine of modern Arab literature, with the support of the British Council, announced in October 2016 the establishment of an annual writing fellowship for a published author writing in Arabic, based each year at St Aidan’s College. The Banipal Visiting Writer Fellowship is a three-month residency.

The Fellowship is based on the three cornerstones that have formed the core of Banipal magazine: that Arab literature is an essential part of world culture and human civilisation; that dialogue between different cultures needs to be continually deepened; and that the joy and enlightenment to be gained from reading beautiful poetry and imaginative writing is an integral part of human existence.

The Fellowship will encourage dialogue with the Arab world through literature. The cultural exchange and dialogue that it will enable, and create, will open windows for non-Arab audiences in the UK onto the realities of Arab cultures in all their diversity and vibrancy, enabling fruitful discourse to develop. It is hoped that this will lead to further exchange, to mutual respect, to new writings, to deeper understanding, and to contributing to Arab literature taking its rightful place in the canon of world literature.

Each year the Fellowship will provide a unique space for a published author writing in Arabic to reflect and to write, and to also have the opportunity to share their work with British audiences.

Najwa Bin Shatwan will arrive in Durham to start her writing residency on 22 January, and over the course of the three months she will have the opportunity of engaging in a monthly literary activity with writers and readers in Durham, the North East of England, and London, in addition to pursuing her work-in-progress.

We thank the hundreds of writers from all over the Arab world, who applied for Banipal Visiting Writing Fellow at St Aidan’s College and wish them better luck next year.


For all enquiries, please email:


Postal address:

The Principal, St Aidan's College, University of Durham, Windmill Hill, Durham DH1 3LJ, UK


Banipal Fellowship on Facebook


Published Date - 03/10/2017