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

Hilarion Capucci: a reminder of resistance history

Hilarion ibn Bashir Capucci died today (along with a lot of other people, no doubt, probably quite a few in his home city of Aleppo). Capucci caught my attention, though, … Continue reading

January 1, 2017 · 2 Comments

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

Bats in the Museum

A couple of months ago I was furtling around in the online archives of the Rockefeller Museum, established under the British Mandate as the Palestine Archaeological Museum and run from … Continue reading

October 18, 2016 · Leave a 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

Reviewed: Palestine Youth Orchestra in Glasgow

The Electronic Intifada, 29th July 2016 The first half of the performance closed with “Metal,” a short piece by contemporary composer Graham Fitkin, a celebratory work inspired by modern British … 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: 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

New review: On the Bride’s Side

Electronic Intifada, 7th April 2016 Tasnim, a Palestinian with German citizenship who had left Syria only a few months earlier and whose parents and grandparents were still in the Yarmouk … Continue reading

April 7, 2016 · Leave a comment