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William Maynard Hutchins, who is based in North Carolina, was educated at Berea, Yale, and the University of Chicago. He began learning Arabic while teaching at the Gerard School for Boys in Sidon, Lebanon. During his time teaching at the University of Ghana in Legon he began translating the plays of Tawfiq al-Hakim, and later published a two-volume collection (published by Three Continents Press). He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for literary translation in 2005-2006 for his translation from Arabic of The Seven Veils of Seth by the Saharan Tuareg author Ibrahim al-Koni (Garnet Publishing) and again in 2011-2012 for a translation of New Waw by Ibrahim al-Koni.
His translations have appeared on wordswithoutborders.org and brooklynrail.org and in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arabic Literature.
His translations of Arabic novels include Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street, and Cairo Modern by Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz (Anchor Books), Basrayatha: Portrait of a Cityby Muhammad Khudayyir (Verso, 2007); three novels by Iraqi poet and novelist Fadhil al-Azzawi: The Last of the Angels (The Free Press, 2007) and Cell Block 5 (Arabia Books, 2008) and The Traveler and the Innkeeper ( The American University in Cairo Press); Return to Dar al-Basha by Hassan Nasr (Syracuse University Press), and Anubis (The American University in Cairo Press, 2005) and Puppet (Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas, 2010) by the prolific Libyan novelist Ibrahim al-Koni. Further translations are The Diesel by Thani al-Suwaidi (ANTIBOOKCLUB), a revision of his translation of Return of the Spirit by Tawfiq al-Hakim (Lynne Rienner Publishers), The Grub Hunter by Amir Tag Elsir (Pearson African Writers Series).
He was joint winner of the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of A Land Without Jasmine by Yemeni author Wajdi al-Ahdal (Garnet Publishing, 2012).
He won the American Literary Translators Association 2015 National Translation Award for his translation of Ibrahim al-Koni’s New Waw: Saharan Oasis (University of Texas, CMES, 2014).
His translation of Amir Tag Elsir's French Perfume is longlisted for the 2016 BTBA, the Best Translated Book Award of the University of Rochester and Three Percent, USA.
He has also completed yet unpublished translations of works by Najem Wali, Ibrahim al-Koni, Duna Ghali, and Fatma Yusuf al-Ali.
He is a contributing editor of Banipal.
William Hutchins was interviewed on May 6, 2022 by the New Lines Magazine, about his Life in Translation. The online Podcast included his work with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on a translation of "The Cairo Trilogy" by Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz—and his many new and forthcoming titles, including I’m in Seattle, Where are You? (Amazon Crossing) and Ibn Arabi’s Small Death (UTexas Press).