2013 Winners of the U of A Arabic Translation Award Announced

John Verlenden  and Ferial Ghazoul
Photo Submitted

John Verlenden and Ferial Ghazoul

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas and Syracuse University Press are pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. Ferial Ghazoul and John Verlenden of the American University in Cairo have won the 2013 Award for their collection Chronicles of Majnun Layla and Selected Poems of Qassim Haddad. They will share the $10,000 prize with the original author, Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad. Ghazoul and Verlenden’s manuscript will be published by Syracuse University Press.

The King Fahd Center awards an annual prize up to $10,000 for the best book-length translation of Arabic literature from any of the following genres: poetry, novel, short story collection, drama, or literary non-fiction such as autobiography or memoir.

Qassim Haddad

Qassim Haddad was born in Bahrain and rose to fame both as a poet and as a revolutionary. Much of his poetry focuses on political subjects dealing with freedom and progress. He has published 15 collections of poetry and is a founding member of "Bahrain Writers Association" established in 1969. At present he is the head of the Union of Bahraini writers.

Ferial Ghazoul is a noted Iraqi scholar, critic and translator. She was educated in Iraq, Lebanon, Britain, France and the USA, and earned her doctorate in comparative literature from Columbia University in 1978. Currently, she is chair and professor of English and comparative literature at the American University in Cairo.

John Verlenden is an American academic, writer and award-winning translator of Arabic literature. He obtained a BA in English literature from Rhodes College in 1986 followed by an MFA in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in 1988. He has taught at a number of universities in the USA and the Middle East, and currently works at the American University in Cairo.

Ghazoul and Verlenden have been translating as a team for nearly two decades. In 1997 they were awarded the University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Prize for Mohamed Afifi Matar's Quartet of Joy, a book-length poem. Later he and Ghazoul translated Rama and the Dragon by Edwar el-Kharrat as part of AUC Press's Naguib Mahfouz Award series.

The Arkansas Award follows a $100,000 translation grant the pair received from the National Endowment for the Humanities to “create a comprehensive edition of Haddad’s work in English.” 

For the Arkansas award the original author (if still holding rights to the work) will receive, in lieu of royalties, $5,000 and the translator (or translators) will receive a total of $5,000.  Independent judges select the award winning translation, which will be published by Syracuse University Press as part of its prestigious Middle East Literature in Translation series.

Submissions for the 2014 University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award will be accepted through April 30, 2014. Award winners will be announced the following fall, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association. 

Past winners published by Syracuse University Press include: 2011 Winner Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt (written by Jurji Zaidan, translated by Samah Selim); 2010 Winner The World Through the Eyes of Angels (written by Mahmoud Saeed, translated by Allen Salter, Rafah Abu Ennab, and Zahra Jhishi); 2009 Winner The Pistachio Seller (written by Reem Bassiouney, translated by Osman Nusairi); 2008 Blood Test (written by Abbas Beydoun, translated by Max Weiss).

About the University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award:

The University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award is a prize given for a notable English translation of a book-length literary work originally written in the Arabic language, administered by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies. Since 2008, the prize-winning book has been published by the Syracuse University Press as part of their Middle Eastern literature series. Prior to 2008, the University of Arkansas Press published the award-winning entry. Along with the Banipal Prize, the Arkansas Award is the leading prize in the field of Arabic-to-English literary translation. More information and a list of previous winners can be found at http://cavern.uark.edu/rd_arsc/mest/4766.php.

About the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies:

The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies is an academic and research unit in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. An interdisciplinary and interdepartmental area studies center that offers diverse cultural, intellectual, and educational opportunities for the University of Arkansas community, it promotes research and teaching in interdisciplinary Middle East studies. The center offers an undergraduate major in Middle East Studies and supports graduate studies in related departments through the Middle East Studies Program, as well as summer language study and research assistantships for graduate students and teaching and research by visiting scholars from affiliated universities and programs. More information about the King Fahd Center can be found at http://mest.uark.edu For ongoing news, follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter.


Nani Verzon, assistant
King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies
479-575-2175, hverzon@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu


U of A United Way Campaign Set to Begin Soon

This year’s U of A United Way Campaign begins Oct. 2 and runs through Nov. 3. Renewals and new donations will be accepted online throughout the campaign.

Adult and Lifelong Learning Student Recognized as Top 10 Civics Teacher of the Year Award Finalist

After 21 years of teaching in the public school system, Jessica Culver was recently recognized as a top 10 finalist for the Bill of Rights Institute's nationwide Civics Teacher of the Year Award.

Medical Humanities Sponsors Talk on History of Mumps

The Medical Humanities Program and Department of History will host a talk from Professor Matthew P. Romaniello of Weber State University on Oct. 6 from 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. in Gearhart Hall 130.

National Leaders to Discuss U.S. Child Labor Laws

The Arkansas Law Review's annual symposium will feature 13 scholars, lawyers and child labor experts during sessions on Oct. 13 in the law school's E.J. Ball Courtroom. Register to reserve a seat.

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month With the University Libraries

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Mullins Library staff have compiled a list of ebooks and streaming videos available to all students, staff and faculty. Stop by Mullins Library to see the display, too.

News Daily