My biggest piece of news is that Basma Abdel Aziz’s novel The Queue has received a 2014 English PEN Translates award. I’ll be translating the novel, to be published by Melville House UK. I’ve written previously about the novel in Mada Masr, and even with all that has changed in Egypt since Basma wrote it in December 2012, I believe it is just as chilling a reflection of Egyptian politics as it was then, if not more so. I’m thankful to the wonderful Sal Robinson at Melville House for working on the grant application with me, and am quite excited to begin working on my first book-length project for such a stellar publishing house.
Adding to the good news is that a couple of other projects I have been working on with Comma Press picked up English PEN awards this year. The forthcoming collection Iraq + 100, edited by Hassan Blasim, received a PEN Translates grant, and The Book of Gaza, which came out this past June and is edited by Atef Abu Saif, received both a PEN Translates and a PEN Promotes award.
Also on the list of grantees is Susan Bernofsky, whose translation workshop I took at Columbia University’s Graduate School of the Arts. She received a PEN Promotes award for End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German and to be published by Granta. And the ever-prolific Daniel Hahn, who organized and mentored at the BCLT Arabic Literary Translation Summit I attended in Doha last December, received a PEN Translates grant for A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese and to be published by Harvill Secker.
You can read the whole list of winners here; a big congratulations to all.