Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic


My most recent solo book is a biography of Palestinian fighter and politician Leila Khaled, published by Pluto in May 2012. The book is available from Pluto and Amazon as well as any other bookshop. Professor Vijay Prashad said of this book, in an article on, that: “The most famous of all these hijackers was Leila Khaled, a PFLP cadre whose life has been wonderfully reconstructed by Sarah Irving in a new, short book, Leila Khaled: Icon of Palestinian Liberation (Pluto, 2012)”.

The book is available in Abla Oudeh’s translation into Arabic from المؤسسة العربيـة للدراسـات و النشـر , in Turkish (from Intifada Yayınları) and Danish (from Solidaritet) and in Bahasa Indonesia (from Marjin Kiri). Coverage of the Arabic edition has included Al-Rai and Al-Akhbar.

I’m also one of the editors of Revolutionary Lives, a series of biographies from Pluto Press, of which my Leila Khaled title is one.

Coverage of the Leila Khaled book started with this piece (in Arabic) from Al-Quds Al-Arabi. Reviews include Electronic Intifada here, The Daily Star (Lebanon), Red Pepper, Middle East Monitor, the Feminist Library, Green Left Weekly, CounterFire, Palestine Chronicle here, Counterpunch, Sugar Street Review, The Tanjara, Socialist Review, As-Safir, Middle East Online, Friends of Al-Aqsa and Lipstick Socialist. Here‘s an interview on Manchester’s Under the Pavement radio show, accompanied by some great punk tunes.

I’m increasingly interested in Arabic => English literary translation. I translated Najlaa Aatallah’s short story ‘The Whore of Gaza’ for Comma Press’ Book of Gaza, and Ali al-Makk’s ‘In The City’ for the same publisher’s Book of Khartoum. With Henry Bell, I co-edited (and co-ordinated bridge translation for) A Bird is Not a Stone, an anthology of Palestinian poetry versioned into the languages of Scotland and published by Freight Books in 2014. I’m currently working on an English edition of The Handsome Jew, a novel/la by Yemeni author and journalist Ali al-Muqri.

I also wrote the Bradt Guide to Palestine, the only mainstream English-language guidebook to travelling in the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinian communities in ’48. It is available to buy online from Bradt’s own website, Amazon and many other sources, and any terrestrial bookshop will be able to order it. Leading Middle East travel journalist Matthew Teller gave it a glowing review on his website, and Dervla Murphy said it was “superb”! Coverage of the guidebook includes my article for Guardian Travel online plus reviews and articles in Wanderlust, Green Left Weekly, Maan News Agency, Peace News, and ANSA News Agency in English and Italian. Bradt: Palestine was also named a ‘Read of the Week’ on travel website Tripatini.

My first book, Gaza: Beneath the Bombs, co-authored with Sharyn Lock, was published by Pluto Books in January 2010. It was reviewed in Red Pepper, Peace News/Znet, the Jordan Times, Friends of Al Aqsa journal, The Tablet, Middle East International, IslamOnline and The Mule. Gaza: Beneath the Bombs was named one of The Morning Star’s ‘page-turners of the year’ by reviewers in 2010, and was “highly recommended” by Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Gaza: Beneath the Bombs also has a Facebook ‘fan’ page here.

In addition, I’ve contributed case studies and chapters to Faslane 365: A Year of Anti-Nuclear Blockades (edited by Angie Zelter, Luath 2008) and Tourism and Responsibility: Perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean (edited by Martin Mowforth, Routledge 2007). I was one of several volunteer proofers of Am I Safe Yet? Stories of Women Seeking Asylum (WAST Manchester 2008), and recently copy-edited the English version of Naseer Arafat’s architectural history of Nablus.

Most of these books are available here.

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