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About the episode
Sonallah Ibrahim’s Warda is the story of a female fighter in the 1960s and 70s Dhofar rebellion in Oman, and of the Egyptian intellectual who, decades later, tries to solve the mystery of what happened to her. We discuss the vibrant and mysterious female character at the heart of one of Ibrahim’s most ambitious literary projects with scholar, editor and translator Hosam Aboul-ela. As Aboul-ela writes in his introduction to his new translation, Warda is someone who “somehow manages to embody both the historical and the unimaginable.”
Warda is available, in Hosam Abou-ela’s translation, from Yale University Press.
Hosam also writes about Warda in his Domestications: American Empire, Literary Culture, and the Postcolonial Lens.
Hosam’s translation of Sonallah Ibrahim’s Stealth is available from New Directions.
Sonallah Ibrahim’s Zaat, in Tony Calderbank’s translation, is, unfortunately, out of print.
Hosam Aboul-ela is also the editor of the Arabic list at Seagull Books, an award-winning Kolkata-based publisher. One of the first books it published was The Stillborn by Arwa Salih. Forthcoming titles include Salim Barakat’s Come, Take a Gentle Stab, co-translated by Huda Fakhreddine and Jayson Iwen; Akram Musallam’s The Dance of the Deep-blue Scorpion, translated by Sawad Hussain, and Hussein Barghouthi’s Among the Almond Blossoms, translated by Ibrahim Muwahi.