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in the seventeenth year of the prize
Charis Olszok is Associate Professor of Modern Arabic Literature at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Newnham College. Her first monograph, The Libyan Novel: Humans, Animals and the Poetics of Vulnerability came out in 2020 (EUP). Her current work focusses on the intersection of fantastic and uncanny poetics, on the one hand, and expressions of an environmental and energy (un)conscious, on the other, in the Arabic novel. Charis is co-editor of the journal Middle Eastern Literatures.
She has also translated numerous works of modern Arabic literature into English, including African Titanics by Abu Bakr Khaal (Darf Publishers, 2014), Ebola ’76 by Amir Tag Elsir (co-translation with Emily Danby, Darf Publishers 2015) and Goat Mountain by Habib Selmi (Banipal Books, 2020).
Charis is Chair of the Judging Panel.
Katharine Halls is an Arabic-to-English translator from Cardiff, Wales. She was awarded a 2021 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for her translation of Haytham El-Wardany’s Things That Can’t Be Fixed and her translation, with Adam Talib, of Raja Alem’s The Dove’s Necklace (Overlook Duckworth, 2016) received the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and was shortlisted for the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.
Her translations for the stage have been performed at the Royal Court and the Edinburgh Festival, and shorter texts have appeared in Asymptote, Africa Is a Country, The Common, Arts of the Working Class, World Literature Today, stadtsprachen, Words Without Borders, Newfound, Adda, Critical Muslim, Perpetual Postponement, and various anthologies. Her translation of Ahmed Naji’s prison memoir Rotten Evidence is forthcoming from McSweeney’s.
Becki Maddock is a toponymist, linguist, translator and editor. She has a BA (Hons) in Arabic and Spanish from Exeter University and an MA in Near & Middle East Studies from SOAS, University of London. Her translations of Arabic short stories have been published in several magazines and Baghdad Noir, an anthology of Iraqi literature. Becki is a trustee of The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature and her book reviews and translations have been regularly published by Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. She also runs the Banipal Book Club.
Becki also researches and advises on geographical names, transliteration systems and international standards within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN). She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Susheila Nasta MBE
Susheila Nasta MBE is Founder of Wasafiri, the magazine of international contemporary writing which she launched in 1984 and led as Editor-in-Chief till 2019. She has judged several literary prizes including the SI Leeds award, the OCM BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature, and the 2021 David Cohen prize, a biannual award offered for a lifetime’s work in any genre.
She is currently Professor Emerita in Modern and Contemporary Literatures at Queen Mary College and the Open University. She has published widely on contemporary Caribbean, South Asian and Black British writing and is committed to public engagement. Over the past thirty years, she has directed a number of projects, including most recently India in Britain, a touring exhibition highlighting South Asian contributions to the making of Britain from 1850 to the present.
She received an MBE in 2011, and in 2019 she received the Royal Society of Literature’s distinguished Benson Medal, for a lifetime’s achievement; and in 2020, she received an Honorary Fellowship for her contribution to English Studies from the English Association. She currently sits on the Council of the RSL.
Photo © Sharron Wallace