The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature
The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature

Image: Detail of painting by Youssef Abdelke created for the front cover of the first issue of Banipal magazine, February 1998


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Annual Lecture

ROBERT IRWIN gives

the 2017 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize Lecture on


Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North:

'The most important Arabic novel

of the 20th Century'


Tayeb Salih  Robert Irwin

 

7.00 to 8.30pm
Tuesday 7 November 2017

Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

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The masterpiece of the Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih (1929-2009), Season of Migration to the North was first published in Arabic in 1966 and was published in English translation by Denys Johnson-Davies in 1969.

It has been rightly subject to much analysis for treatment of colonialism, anti-colonialism, authoritarianism, resistance to social change and patriarchy. But this has been at the cost of more literary appraisals. The novel and its sequel Bandarshah drew upon The Arabian Nights, the Qur‘an, pre-Islamic poetry and Sufi narratives, as well as Heart of Darkness, Othello, The Tempest and the writings of Freud. The stories Tayeb Salih told took up those older narratives and they in turn commented on the stories he was telling.

In 2001 the Arab Literary Academy declared Season of Migration to the North to be 'the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century'. This is not a verdict that our speaker – the acclaimed writer on Arabic history and literature, Robert Irwin – intends to challenge.


Robert Irwin is a historian and writer of fiction and non-fiction. His non-fiction works include The Arabian Nights: A Companion (1994), For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (2006), Visions of the Jinn: Illustrators of the Arabian Nights (2010) and Memoirs of a Dervish (2011), and in 2014 he edited and introduced Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange (a medieval Arab story collection). His seventh novel Wonders Will Never Cease was published in 2016, and his book on Ibn Khaldun is forthcoming in 2018.

 

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Download a flyer for the Lecture

Flyer for 7 November Lecture at British Library

The winning titles
since the first award

2006 and ............ 2007

2006 winning title Gate of the Sun  The Lodging House, 2007 winner of the Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize

2008 and ............2009
The Butterfly's Burden, 2008 winner of Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize  
The Collar and the Bracelet, winner of the 2009 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize

2010 and ............2011
Yalo, winner of the 2010 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize  
Adonis: Selected Poems, winner of the Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize 2011

2012
A Muslim Suicide, winner of the 2012 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize 

2013 
Azazeel was the joint winner of the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize   A Land without Jasmine was the joint winner of the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize  

2014 and .............2015
The Corpse Washer, 2014 winner of Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize  
The Book of the Sultan's Seal, 2015 winner of Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize

2016 .........
The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi translated by Jonathan Wright

The prize is administered by the  

Society of Authors Prizes logo

 



Click on the image to download the Brochure for the 2016 Lecture

14 October Lecture image

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