Recommendations in Translation

Katharine Halls is an Arabic-to-English translator. Her translation, with Adam Talib, of Raja Alem’s novel The Dove’s Necklace received the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award and was shortlisted for the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize. Her translations for the stage have been performed at the Royal Court in London and the Edinburgh Festival.

Katharine has collated her top five recommendations for anyone looking to broaden their reading horizons this summer.

  1. The One Facing Us by Ronit Matalon, translated by Marsha Weinstein.

A continent-crossing tale of the displacement of one family from Egypt, told by seventeen-year-old Esther as she rifles through old photos and letters.


2. The Children of the Ghetto: My Name is Adamby Elias Khoury, translated by Humphrey Davies.

A complex, multi-layered story of Palestinian trauma from one of the greats of Arabic literature, and one of its foremost translators.


3. The Awakening by Kate Roberts, translated by Siân James.

I’m Welsh but to my embarrassment I don’t speak Welsh, so I have to enjoy Welsh literature in translation. Kate Roberts is one of my favourites.


4. The Stillborn by Arwa Salih, translated by Samah Selim 

A forgotten feminist classic of the Egyptian left in a beautiful translation.


5. The Council of Egypt by Leonardo Sciascia, translated by Adrienne Foulk

Set in 18th-century Palermo, this is a weird and wandering tale of a scheming Maltese abbot who forges an Arabic manuscript that threatens to change the balance of power in Sicily.


The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem, translated by Katharine Halls was published in 2017 by Overlook Press.