Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New article: Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist reviewed

Electronic Intifada, 31st May 2013 With the exception of her observations on women’s changing roles, Anbara’s memories are interesting and important not for what they reveal about home life through … Continue reading

May 31, 2013 · Leave a comment

Annie Laurie and Victorian sentimentality

My paternal grandfather, Tom Irving, was born on a small farm outside Maxwelltown in Kirkcudbrightshire in South-West Scotland. Maxwelltown is probably best known for being mentioned in the first line … Continue reading

May 30, 2013 · 1 Comment

New article: Nihad Sirees interviewed

The Arab Review, 28th May 2013 Sitting in the foyer of a London hotel, Sirees looks tired and a little dazed, but is cheerfully talkative.“The news every day affects me … Continue reading

May 28, 2013 · Leave a comment

‘Grim fairy tales…’

This is grotesque but brilliant – nicked from Dwight Towers. The fairy-tale rhythmic language is note-perfect – ‘little pig, little pig, let me in… I won’t by the hair on … Continue reading

May 27, 2013 · 1 Comment

New article: Marilyn Booth interviewed

One of the most exciting things about being based at Edinburgh University’s Dept of Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies for the past two years has been people who make up … Continue reading

May 27, 2013 · Leave a comment

Noise vs music

‘You and I have very different tastes in music…‘ observed husband this evening (well spotted, after ten years). It’s a subject I’ve been thinking about a bit lately, though. The … Continue reading

May 26, 2013 · 2 Comments

As if Edinburgh didn’t have enough book temptation…

I heard a rumour at the end of last year that a Middle Eastern specialist bookshop was going to open in Edinburgh. After months of intermittent hovering about on Google, … Continue reading

May 25, 2013 · 1 Comment


I shall probably cringe with shame and delete this post later on, but this evening I’m in a wistful, nostalgic kind of mood. In the middle of having another clear-out … Continue reading

May 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

‘Human rights’: how meaningless can this phrase become?

A really important article – and a bitter expose of the ironies of Western ‘human rights’ work – came out last night from Electronic Intifada. By Lebanese journalist and fixer … Continue reading

May 18, 2013 · 1 Comment

Maxime Rodinson on ideology and oppression

Ideology always goes for the simplest solutions. It does not argue that an oppressed people is to be defended because it is oppressed and to the exact extent to which … Continue reading

May 15, 2013 · Leave a comment

Manchester/climate change short story competition

Manchester Climate Monthly is running a short story competition on the theme of “Manchester in a warmer world” (that’s Manchester, Britain, not some American interloper). You don’t have to live … Continue reading

May 10, 2013 · 3 Comments

Some ancient history on Nigel Farage, UKIP and the BNP

The Francis Wheen article reproduced below is from 1999 – which seems like a terrifyingly long time ago – and was originally published in The Guardian. It’s a reminder, whilst … Continue reading

May 5, 2013 · 2 Comments

UK Border Agency vs art/sanity (AGAIN)… and an intemperate rant against UKIP

Facebook is bad for my blood pressure. Usually because of its commercialised intrusive horribleness (although AdBlock still goes a long way…), but also because of information like this, from yesterday: … Continue reading

May 4, 2013 · 8 Comments

TWO paid postgrad internships in Arabic/English publishing

… both based in London (booo…) and both open to people with Masters level degrees from UK universities or enrolled on PhD programmes at UK universities. Both organised by the … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

The Queen of Sheba/Kathleen Jamie

The Scottish Poetry Library has a delightful programme of publishing a set of postcards every six months, each featuring different poems or excerpts from them. One of the first I … Continue reading

May 1, 2013 · Leave a comment

New article: Palestinian-Scottish bilingual poetry collection

Electronic Intifada, 1st May 2013 In 2003, Iyad Hayatleh and Tessa Ransford met during a project to introduce Scottish and refugee poets to one another. Hayatleh is a Palestinian “double … Continue reading

May 1, 2013 · Leave a comment