Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

The Palestine Hotel, Nablus

Sitting in the University Library at Cambridge, reading the sculptor Eric Gill’s diaries of his trip to Palestine in 1934 (he had been commissioned by the architect Austen St. Barbe … Continue reading

April 21, 2017 · 1 Comment

New review: Jerusalem, Interrupted

Electronic Intifada, 11th January 2017 Whether Arabic or Aramaic has been the dominant tongue, or Islam, Judaism, Christianity or paganism the majority religion, the city has always been a patchwork; … Continue reading

January 11, 2017 · Leave a comment

New Samih al-Qasim anthology review

The Electronic Intifada, 3rd January 2017 The only two significant bodies of al-Qasim’s poetry available in translation were, until now, Sadder than Water, a fine bilingual edition from Jerusalem-based Ibis … Continue reading

January 5, 2017 · Leave a comment

Bart Moore-Gilbert on the perils of translated texts

Just found in a Bart Moore-Gilbert (RIP) article on Palestine and postcolonial studies an interesting example of the risks of literature scholars working from translations. It could be read, I … Continue reading

October 30, 2016 · 1 Comment

Review: Ghassan Zaqtan’s ‘Describing the Past’

The Electronic Intifada, 3rd October 2016 The theme of the unstable balance between myth and memory recurs constantly throughout the novella. “Things evaporate and die if they don’t find someone … Continue reading

October 4, 2016 · Leave a comment

Review: Salman Abu Sitta’s autobiography

The Electronic Intifada, 27th September 2016 Unlike Jawhariyyeh, al-Hout or Sayigh, Galilean hills, Lebanon and Jerusalem do not loom large in Abu Sitta’s account. Instead, his life story is rooted … Continue reading

October 4, 2016 · Leave a comment

New review: Sayed Kashua’s ‘Native’

Electronic Intifada, 7th July 2016 When novelist and columnist Sayed Kashua announced in 2014 that he and his family would be leaving Jerusalem for the US, the announcement was a … Continue reading

July 7, 2016 · 2 Comments

New Review: Gilgamesh’s Snake and Other Poems

The Bottle Imp, 16th June 2016 Ghareeb Iskander’s own transformation of the Gilgamesh epic into a modern poem draws the original’s grandeur down to the personal scale, without rendering it … Continue reading

June 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

New review: Susan Muaddi Darraj’s ‘A Curious Land’

The Electronic Intifada, 13th June 2016 A Curious Land begins in 1916 with a group of Bedouin refugees fleeing the violence and famine which wreaked havoc across the Levant during … Continue reading

June 15, 2016 · 1 Comment

New review: Yusif Sayigh memoirs

The Electronic Intifada, 7th June 2016 Yusif Sayigh’s life story, narrated and edited by his wife Rosemary (herself an eminent anthropologist and activist), is a significant addition to this list. … Continue reading

June 15, 2016 · 4 Comments

Gribetz, “Defining Neighbours”

A few fascinating and thought-provoking excerpts from Jonathan Gribetz’s excellent exploration of intellectual life and perceptions of faith in Late Ottoman and early inter-war Palestine (Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and … Continue reading

May 4, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Book of Khartoum

This is exciting (for me…). Comma Press now have copies of The Book of Khartoum, an anthology of Sudanese short stories co-edited by my fellow IMES PhDer Raph Cormack; I … Continue reading

April 13, 2016 · 1 Comment

Reviewed: Hisham Bustani, “The Perception of Meaning”

Electronic Intifada, 16th February 2016 This collection of Bustani’s stories has been translated into English by Palestinian-Canadian translator Thoraya El-Rayyes, giving English-language readers their first opportunity to encounter Bustani’s work. … Continue reading

March 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

Reviewed: Mohannad Sabry on Sinai

Electronic Intifada, 11th February 2016 Heavily militarized by Egypt and portrayed in the West as a stronghold of Islamist militant supporters of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, how do … Continue reading

March 10, 2016 · Leave a comment