2015 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

The 2015 Prize – the Entries and the Judging Panel

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize logo

Twenty-nine entries were received for the 2015 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize (26 novels and 3 collections of poetry). This is the highest number of entries in the history of the prize. Hopefully it is a trend that will continue. Below are details of the titles, authors, translators and publishers. 

The new judging panel comprises: 

Chair of Judges Robin Ostle, Emeritus Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford

Literary translator Samira Kawar

Lecturer and writer Alastair Niven

Cultural journalist and blogger Susannah Tarbush 


The winner will be decided at a meeting in December, with the announcement being made mid-January 2016. The award ceremony will be held in London in February 2016.

Among the translators of the 29 entries are two who have two titles entered, and two who have three titles entered, as well as two pairs of translators. 

The translators are as follows:

Housam Abdoul-Ela, Marilyn Booth, Charis Bredin, Raphael Cohen, C.J. Collins, Humphrey Davies, Sarah Enany, Paula Haydar and Nadine Sinno, William M Hutchins, Kareen James Abu-Zeid (2 books), Kay Heikkinen, Luke Leafgren (2 books), Robin Moger (3 books), Nancy Roberts (3 books), Barbara Romaine, Chip Rossetti, Paul Starkey, Mbarek Sryfi and Roger Allen, John Verlenden and Ferial Ghazoul, Farouk Abdel Wahab, Jonathan Wright, and Mona Zaki.

The entries are:

Stealth book coverThe Penguin's Song_book coverAfrican Titanics_book cover Butterfly wings_book coverFullblood Arabian_book cover




Stealth by Sonallah Ibrahim, trans. Hosam Aboul-Ela (New Directions, USA)

The Penguin's Song by Hassan Daoud, trans. Marilyn Booth(City Lights Publishers, USA)
African Titanics by Abu Bakr Khaal, trans. Charis Bredin (Darf Publishers, UK)
Butterfly Wings by Mohamed Salmawy, trans. Raphael Cohen (The American University in Cairo Press, Egypt/USA)
Fullblood Arabian by Osama Alomar, trans. C.J. Collins (New Directions, USA)

The Broken Mirrors: Sinacol_book cover Diary of a Jewish Muslim_book coverWho's afraid of Meryl Streep_book coverFrench Perfume_book coverNothing More to Lose_ book cover




The Broken Mirrors: Sinalcol by Elias Khoury, trans. Humphrey Davies (Maclehose Press, UK)
Diary of a Jewish Muslim by KamalRuhayyim, trans. Sarah Enany (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)

Who's Afraid of Meryl Streep by Rashid Al-Daif, trans. Paula Haydar and Nadine Sinno (Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, USA)
French Perfume by Amir Tag Elsir, trans. William M. Hutchins (Antibookclub, USA)
Nothing More to Lose by Najwan Darwish, poetry trans. Kareem James Abu-Zeid (NY Books, USA)

The Iraqi Nights_book coverThe Woman from Tantoura_book coverDates on my Fingers_book coverOh, Salaam!_book coverWhere Pigeons Don't Fly_book cover




The Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail, poetry trans. Kareem James Abu-Zeid (New Directions, USA)

The Woman from Tantoura by Radwa Ashour, trans. Kay Heikkinen (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)
Dates on my Fingers by Muhshin al-Ramli, trans. Luke Leafgren (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)
Oh, Salaam! by Najwa Barakat, trans. Luke Leafgren(Interlink, USA)
Where Pigeons Don't Fly by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, trans. Robin Moger (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)

women of karantina book coverThe Crocodiles_book coverDays of Ignorance_book coverChaos of the Senses_book coverLanterns of the King of Galilee_book cover 





Women of Karantina by Nael Eltoukhy, trans. Robin Moger (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)

The Crocodiles by Youssef Rakha, trans. Robin Moger (Seven Stories Press, USA)
Days of Ignorance by Laila Aljohani, trans. Nancy Roberts (Bloomsbury, UK/USA)
Chaos of the Senses by Ahlem Mosteghanemi, trans. Nancy Roberts (Bloomsbury)
The Lanterns of the King of Galilee by Ibrahim Nasrallah, trans. Nancy Roberts (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)


Blue Lorries_book coverBeirut, Beirut_book coverThe book of the sultan's seal book coverMonarch of the Square_book coverChronicles of Majnuun Layla_book cover






Blue Lorries by Radwa Ashour, trans. Barbara Romaine (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)

Beirut, Beirut by Sonallah Ibrahim, trans. Chip Rossetti (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)
The Book of the Sultan's Seal by Youssef Rakha, trans. Paul Starkey (Interlink, USA)
Monarch of the Square: an Anthology of Mohamed Zafzaf's Short Stories by Mohamed Zafzaf, trans. Mbarek Sryfi and Roger Allen (Syracuse University Press, USA)
The Chronicles of Majnun Layla and Selected Poems by Qassim Haddad, poetry trans. John Verlenden and Ferial Ghazoul (Syracuse University Press, USA)


Rain over Baghdad_book cover

Front cover of Land Of No Rain

temple bar book cover

Chewinggum_book cover





Rain Over Baghdad by Hala el Badry, trans. Farouk Abdel Wahab (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)

Rain Over Baghdad by Hala el Badry, trans. Farouk Abdel Wahab (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)
Land Of No Rain by Amjad Nasser, trans. Jonathan Wright (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)
Temple Bar by Bahaa Abdelmegid, trans. Jonathan Wright (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)
Chewing Gum by Mansour Bushnaf, trans. Mona Zaki (Darf Publishers, UK)Rain Over Baghdad by Hala el Badry, trans. Farouk Abdel Wahab (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)Land Of No Rain by Amjad Nasser, trans. Jonathan Wright (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)Rain Over Baghdad by Hala el Badry, trans. Farouk Abdel Wahab (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)
Land Of No Rain by Amjad Nasser, trans. Jonathan Wright (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing)
Temple Bar by Bahaa Abdelmegid, transJonathan Wright (The AUC Press, Egypt/USA)
Chewing Gum by Mansour Bushnaf, trans. Mona Zaki (Darf Publishers, UK)



To read more about the prize and previous winners, click here


The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize is administered by the UK's Society of Authors, along with other translation prizes from European languages. This year's prizes are for translation from Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Swedish. For more information on the prizes from the Society of Authors website, click here

Published Date - 07/12/2015