What to translate?
On being asked which writers from the Arab world should be translated:
I remember a story from four years ago in Ramallah. One night the Israeli army stormed a building in which somebody I knew lived. Everyone was told to get out. After a few hours, the army announced it wanted to blow up the building and gave the inhabitants 20 minutes to go up to their rooms and retrieve what they could. When my friend went up he didn’t know what to take; he had all of his life there, he was totally lost. He finally went to the washing machine, emptied it and went out with the washing, leaving everything else behind to be blown up a few minutes later.
In the same way, I could never say which text to have translated from Arabic into English; if I did, it might be the least important.
— Adania Shibli, Palestinian writer, whose novels Touch and We Are All Equally Far from Love we are thrilled to be publishing in 2010 and 2011.
From the Guardian, “One Thousand and One Delights,” 12 April 2008.