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Hutchins co-winner of prize for Arabic literary translation



Article Published: Jan. 23, 2014 | Modified: Jan. 23, 2014

William Hutchins, professor of religious studies at Appalachian State University, was recently named co-winner of the esteemed Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.

For the first time in the award’s history, two translators share the £3,000 prize for 2013: Hutchins and British translator Jonathan Wright.

The prize will be awarded Feb. 12 in London. Hutchins and Wright will participate in a roundtable discussion on “Literary Translation of Arabic to English,” hosted by Banipal Trust for Arab Literature Feb. 13 at the Arab British Centre in London. The award-winners also will attend a reception hosted by The Gallery of Foyle’s Bookshop and the Banipal Trust.

Hutchins won the award for his translation of Yemeni author Wajdi al-Ahdal’s “A Land Without Jasmine,” published by Garnet Publishing. Wright won the prize for his translation of Egyptian writer Youssef Ziedan’s novel, “Azazeel,” published by Atlantic Books.

The Arabic originals of both novels were in different ways notably provocative and groundbreaking and posed challenges for their translators, according to a release from the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature.

“For the first time, the judges have selected two outright winning translators, instead of the usual winner and runner-up,” the release stated. “Two enticing and finely translated novels, each in their very different way, captured the judges’ attention and passion, leading to the decision to share the prize this year.”

Hutchins’ translation was described as “a gripping page-turner from a gifted and original storyteller, superbly translated.”

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