Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic


I spent over ten years as a freelance writer specialising in social and environmental issues, Palestine and the wider Middle East, and travel. This pages marked [old] on this site date from then, and include links to various articles and other writings.

I’m now an Early Career Researcher, a fairly precariously employed academic. I wrote my PhD at the University of Edinburgh and have been a lecturer or teaching fellow in Middle Eastern history at Edge Hill University and at King’s College London, followed by a year as a postdoctoral researcher at Linnaeus University. I’ll be starting a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Edge Hill University in January 2020, with a project titled ‘The 1927 Palestine Earthquake: environment, disasters and British colonialism.’ You can find links to my academic publications here.


I’m the author of two books, the Bradt Guide to Palestine (Bradt, November 2011) and a biography of Palestinian fighter, politician and activist Leila Khaled (Pluto Press, May 2012). The latter is available in translation into a number of languages: Bahasa Indonesia (from Marjin Kiri), Turkish (from Intifada Yayinlari), Danish (from Solidaritet), and Arabic (from المؤسسة العربيـة للدراسـات و النشـر )

I’m also co-author of Gaza: Beneath the Bombs, published by Pluto Press in January 2010. In addition, I’ve edited and proofed a number of books on subjects as diverse as Nabulsi architecture and women asylum seekers in the UK. Along with Brian Doherty of Keele University and Paul Leblanc of LaRoche College I am an editor of Pluto Press’ Revolutionary Lives series of political biographies.


With Henry Bell I co-edited A Bird is Not a Stone, an anthology of contemporary Palestinian poetry translated into some of the languages of Scotland (Gaelic, Shetlandic, Scots and English) and published by Freight. I also co-ordinated the bridge translation process for the book, and was one of the bridge translation team.

I have also translated Najlaa Ataallah’s short story ‘The Whore of Gaza’ for Comma PressBook of Gaza, and Ali al-Makk’s ‘In the City’ for the Book of Khartoum in the same series. I’ve published two short stories by Jordanian writer Shafeeq al-Nobany, co-translated with academic and critic Yousef Hamdan.

Journalism and copywriting

I spent seven years writing for Ethical Consumer magazine and delivering research and consultancy services for Ethical Consumer Research Association, and have written for New Internationalist, Guardian Online, Electronic Intifada, Red Pepper, New Start, Big Issue in the North and many other publications. I offer research, copywriting, editing and proofing services to the social enterprise, ethical trade, not-for-profit and co-operative sectors, with clients including Co-operatives UK, Togetherworks and New Start Plus.

I can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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