Bottled up by Basma Abdel Aziz

‘I could wander aimlessly from one colleague’s office to another, stopping here and there for a chat, maybe a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. I’d sit back with a carefree yawn, my notebooks and files piled up in front fo me, gnawing on a pencil that splinters between my teeth. I wouldn’t bother with any correspondence or with responding to any queries, … Continue reading Bottled up by Basma Abdel Aziz

Code Name: Butterfly

I was lucky enough to be the copy editor of this short YA novel by Palestinian author Ahlam Bsharat, beautifully rendered into English by award-winning translator Nancy N. Roberts, and published in May 2016 by new UK-based independent publishing house Neem Tree Press. Working with Nancy, Ahlam and Archna, the publisher, I realised it was a book I cared so much about that I’ve started … Continue reading Code Name: Butterfly

Tajdeed: Contemporary Arabic Stories in Translation

Long awaited, the Arabic short story special of The Common journal is now out! ‘The issue was co-edited by Jennifer Acker and Jordanian short-story writer Hisham Bustani, with an eye not just to bringing new Arabic literature into translation, but into joyous, sharp translation — with work by some of the best emerging Arabic-English translators. This collection is not for Arabists, but for English-language fictionophiles.’ … Continue reading Tajdeed: Contemporary Arabic Stories in Translation

Shortlisted for an Arts Foundation fellowship 2016

My head is still reeling after attending one of the most exciting arts events I’ve ever been invited to. There were children’s theatre entrepreneurs, people who stage symphonies in unusual locations, innovative jewellery designers and the creator of the world’s first sustainable fabric made from pineapple leaves, Pinatex. A truly inspiring celebration of young people in the arts. And not only was I wined and … Continue reading Shortlisted for an Arts Foundation fellowship 2016

The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria

By: Samar Yazbek Translated by: Nashwa Gowanlock and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp Published: Rider Books (Penguin Random House) 2015 Reviews ‘The Crossing is not simply reportage or political analysis. It bears comparison with George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia as a work of literature. Yazbek is a superb narrator who knows how to pace her text, craft dialogue and convey a universal sense of grief; this is how she crosses … Continue reading The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria

The Bride of Amman by Fadi Zaghmout

The Bride of Amman, a huge and controversial bestseller when first published in Arabic, takes a sharp-eyed look at the intersecting lives of four women and one gay man in Jordan’s historic capital, Amman-a city deeply imbued with its nation’s traditions and taboos. When Rana finds herself not only falling for a man of the wrong faith, but also getting into trouble with him, where … Continue reading The Bride of Amman by Fadi Zaghmout

Arabic: more accessible than you think (British Council blog)

“It is the rather stiff-sounding fus-ha, aka Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), that is the starting point for most students of Arabic as a foreign language. You need it to develop academically, to read, to write and to use a dictionary. But if you want to speak Arabic on holiday or do business beyond simple pleasantries, you also need to learn a local dialect. If you … Continue reading Arabic: more accessible than you think (British Council blog)