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Arabic Poetry and Stories in Translation, Stories in Transit

Arabic Poetry and Stories in Translation

Arabic Poetry and Stories in Translation

Arabic Poetry and Stories in Translation Workshops
A Series of Workshops Presented by Marina Warner and Wen-chin Ouyang

Full website of workshops here

The Arabic Translation Workshop began as a continuation in spirit of the 'The Bearer-Beings' events at Oxford in 2016 and initially consisted of four translation and creative writing workshops in London.

The aim of this series is to explore how non-Arabic speakers can participate and learn from processes of translation from Arabic, and thereby to understand how such collaborative translation practices can help build imaginative communities to address the current migration crisis. Writers with other languages were especially integral during this workshop as bridges to Arabic and a third of those who were present were Arabists or native speakers of Arabic.

The first series of workshops in 2017 were in small groups, limited to twenty-four participants, focused on rendering Arabic, including literature from Sicily during the period when Arabic was one of the island's languages. Participants looked at stories from the Arabian Nights (including verse passages), folklore, and the contemporary writing of Hanan al-Shaykh, Adhaf Soueif, and Tamim al-Barghouti (all of whom visited the workshops to read and discuss their work).

To view a flyer for the first series of workshops in 2017, as well as a more detailed description of the objectives, please click here.

To view a video of group discussions during the initial workshop series please see the YouTube channel here.

'It was and it was not…'- Translation in Action (from Arabic to English)
May 11, May 25, June 6, June 25 2017 (Oxford)
Hanan al- Shaykh, Hoda Barakat, Adhaf Soueif, Tamim al-Barghouti

Pilgrimage & Beyond
November 8 2019 (Birkbeck), workshop and evening lecture
Haifa Zangana & Wen-chin Ouyang

The workshop focused on creative uses of Arabic travel writings, with excerpts from Ibn Battuta, Tim MacKintosh-Smith and Ross Dunn. In the lecture, titled Life Journeys, Haifa Zangana read Women on a Journey and Keys to the City, in which Ibn Battuta features, as well as discussing Zangana's activism.

Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi author and activist. She has published three novels and four collections of short stories. Among her other books; City of Widows: an Iraqi woman account of war and resistance, Dreaming of Baghdad and The Torturer in the mirror, together with Ramsy Clark and Thomas Ehrlich Reifer. SHe is a founding member of International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS); and co-founder of Tadhamun (Iraqi Women Solidarity). She edited Party for Thaera; Palestinian women writing life, a collection of non fictional creative writings by former Palestinian women prisoners.

Wen-chin Ouyang FBA is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London. Born in Taiwan and raised in Libya, she completed her BA in Arabic at Tripoli University and PhD in Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University in New York City. She is the author of Literary Criticism in Medieval Arabic-Islamic Culture: The Making of a Tradition (1997), Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel (2012) and Politics of Nostalgia in the Arabic Novel (2013).

Refugee Writings, Creative Encounters
Friday 30 November 2018, workshop and public event
Yousif M. Qasmiyeh & Selma Dabbagh

The poet Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and novelist Selma Dabbagh lead the workshop in an exploration of the issues facing writers and artists when they voice the world of Arabic culture, and find themselves acting as representatives - whether they wish to or not. The practical work began with exploring the legacy of Umm Khulthum whose songs continue to bring Arabic poetry to a vast audience.

The Poetics of the Tale
December 6 2019 (SOAS)
Yasmine Seale & Robert Irwin

Yasmine Seale was born in 1989, to a Syrian mother and a British father, and grew up in Paris. She translates from Arabic and French, and her essays on books and art have appeared in Harper’s, The Nation, the TLS, Apollo, frieze and elsewhere. Her first translated book, Aladdin, came out from W. W. Norton in 2018. She is currently working on a new translation of the Thousand and One Nights for the same publisher.

Robert Irwin is a British historian, novelist, and writer on Arabic literature. Irwin attended Epsom College, read modern history at the University of Oxford, and did graduate research at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) under the supervision of Bernard Lewis. From 1972 he was a lecturer in medieval history at the University of St. Andrews. Irwin is currently a Research Associate at SOAS, and the Middle East editor of The Times Literary Supplement. He has published a history of Orientalism and is an acknowledged expert on The Arabian Nights.

Glow of the Senses: Women Writing of Love and Loss
January 24 2020 (SOAS), workshop and public event
Huzama Habayeb & Hanan al-Shaykh

Huzama Habeyeb is a Palestinian novelist, storyteller, columnist, translator, and poet who has won multiple awards such as Mahmoud Seif Eddin Al-Erani Award for Short Stories, Jerusalem Festival of Youth Innovation in Short Stories, and Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature. Upon graduating from Kuwait University in 1987 with a BA degree in English Language and LIterature, she pursued careers in journalism, teaching, and translation before she eventually started to write prefessionally as a published author.

Hanan al-Shaykh is a celebrated and award-winning novelist, playwright, journalist and storyteller from Lebanon. Her works feature female protagonists who struggle to be free of social, patriarchal and religious restrictions, and have been translated into 21 languages around the world. SHe holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the American University of Beirut, and in June 2019 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

More dates to be announced.

Funded by CHASE, at Birkbeck College and School of Oriental and African Studies, London


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