Banipal 63 - The 100 Best Arabic Novels (2018)

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Banipal 63 – The 100 Best Arabic Novels
is available as a paperback
(ISBN 9780995636972)
or as part of a digital or a print subscription

Cover Painting
Ahmed Morsi: The Fish Eye Acrylic on canvas 213cm x 127 cm, New York City 2012



HAYAT SHARARA (1935-1997)

Remembering an excellent Iraqi intellectual

Balkis Sharara: She felt she was under surveillance at the university

Fadhil Chalabi: Heroic outcry against injustice

Hayat Sharara: An excerpt from the novel When the Days Grow Dark, translated by Jonathan Wright



Girgis Shukry: Three Poems, translated by Paul Starkey

Azza Rashad: A short story Prickly Jasmine, translated by Jonathan Wright

Mekkawi Said: “The enchantment of Reem”, an excerpt from his novel To Be Loved by Jihan, translated by Ahmed Salah Eldein

Ahmed Salah Eldein writes about the late Mekkawi Said (1956–2017) and the novel



The Biography          

Alfonso Armada: The door to the beach of time

Salah Awad: Ahmed Morsi the Poet

Ahmed Morsi: Photos from the New York Album, translated by Raphael Cohen



Introduction by Samuel Shimon

Ranked according to the number of nominations each title received, with a synopsis and author biography. Some authors have more than one title listed.



Stephan Milich: The Poet as Excavator – Ghassan Zaqtan’s Museum of Words



Bassam Frangieh: Hanna Mina – Pioneer of Social Realism in Modern Arabic Literature



Susannah TarbushSophia: or the Beginning of All Tales by Rafik Schami

Becki MaddockTales of Yusuf Tadrus by Adel Esmat

Ruth PadelA Boat to Lesbos and Other Poems by Nouri Al-Jarrah

Peter KaluBaghdad Noir ed. Samuel Shimon

Bill SwainsonStates of Passion by Nihad Sirees

Chip RosettiA Cloudy Day on the Western Shore by Mohamed Mansi Qandil

Hannah SomervilleIn the Spider’s Room by Muhammad Abdelnabi

Aldo NicosiaAl-Digla fi ‘Arajiniha (Dates in their Branches) by Béchir Khraief

Clare Roberts – Four brief reviews: Outclassed in Kuwait by Taleb Alrefai, Cigarette Number Seven by Donia Kamal, One Syrian Summer by Dorothy Al Khafaji and A Moroccan Anthology: Travel Writing through the Centuries, edited by Martin Rose




Assilah Festival 2018


The translators of the issue are: Adel Babikir, Raphael Cohen, Najlaa Eltom, Ahmed Salah Eldein, Paul Starkey, Jonathan Wright

Special thanks to Rosie Maxton and Valentina Viena for compiling the synopses and biographies for "The 100 Best Arabic Novels".

For information about all contributors to Banipal's issues – authors, writers, reviewers, illustrators, artists, and of course, all translators – check out their individual webpage from the alphabetical list of family names at

Selections from this issue


Girgis Shukry – A Poem: He found the mirror blank