8 Short Stories by Arab Women for International Women’s Day

Your gift for International Women’s Day is eight great short stories by Arab women, in translation, available free online:
By artist Helen Zughaib, in an exhibition “Arab Spring/Unfinished Journeys: Humanizing Politics Through Art.” A detail image of her piece Generations Lost, 2014. Thoraya El-Rayyes, on ArabLit. Merhej. Guthrie. “The Sea Cloak,” by Nayrouz Qarmout, tr. Sawad Hussain, in   Banthology —   have been written by women. Malika Moustadraf’s “Just Different,”   tr. Najlaa Khoury, tr. A translation of Samira Azzam’s “Man and His Alarm Clock” has been paywalled for $42.50. Lena Merhej, “I Think We Will Be Calmer in the Next War,” tr. Inea Bushnaq. Photographer: Stephanie Mitchell. This story, by Palestinian writer Adania Shibli, is built on the work of   classic Palestinian short-story writer Samira Azzam, best-known for her collection,   The Clock and the Man. This story, by talented Lebanese artist, cartoonist, and graphic novelist Lena Merhej, opens:

You can read both the Arabic and the English of these graphic short stories — or comix — at   grandpapier.org. Or, to put it more nicely, if she hadn’t been so imaginative   on that winter night when she convinced me that she would never leave me. Adania Shibli’s “Out of Time,” translator not named. Alice Guthrie. Charis Bredon
A collection for Qarmout’s stories, titled   The Sea Cloak   and tr. The story isn’t printed online, but you can listen to it performed by Grazyna Monvid:


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There are also a number of other Rasha Abbas stories online, such as “Statement of Absolute Hatred,”   “Falling Down Politely, or How to Use Up All Six Bullets Instead of Playing Russian Roulette,” and “Statement of Absolute Hatred,” all tr. This story, by the maverick Moroccan short-story writer Malika Moustadraf (1962-2006), opens:
Avenue Mohammed V is silent and desolate this late at night, empty apart from a few stray cats meowing like newborn babies; it’s a creepy sound. Unfortunately a translation of Azzam’s “Man and His Alarm Clock” is no longer online. My little watch is the first to sense the change going in to and out of Palestine. THERE WAS A KING – there is no sovereign but God – and this king had a daughter. This gorgeous, subversive, beautifully translated collection — subtitled “Tales from the Arab World Told by Women” — is a must-have for all ages. 6. 2. 8. 5. Rachida el-Charni, “The Way to Poppy Street,” tr Piers Amodia. She was his only child and he liked to please her. Here is a handful of pearls, stitched to a branch:
1. So when the month for the pilgrimage to Mecca drew near, the king asked his daughter:
Tell me what do you want me to bring you from the Hajj? Perween Richards, is forthcoming from Comma Press this May. Andrew Leber
This story, by acclaimed Jordanian short-story writer and attorney Basma al-Nsour, opens:
My life would have been a lot easier if only my grandmother had not been a liar. Not for a moment did she imagine that he would use the second she took to think to snatch her gold necklace and take to his heels. Many short stories I’ve recently enjoyed — Hanan al-Shaykh’s “The Angel” in Arab Women Voice New Realities; Najwa Binshatwan’s “Return Ticket,”   tr. 7. Basma al-Nsour’s “Disappointments (and a Few Clarifications),”tr. She saw him coming towards her, whistling and humming. “Pearls on a Branch,” from the collection of folktales   Pearls on a Branch,   ed. 4. You can also read al-Nsour’s “That Pathetic Woman,” tr. 3. Helon Habila. This story — by Tunisian writer Rachida el-Charni — was also selected for the   Granta Book of the African Short Story, ed. This story, published on   Tin House,   opens:
There was or there was not
In olden days that time has lost…
O you who like stories and talk
No story can be pleasing and beautiful,
Without invoking the Almighty, the Merciful. He stopped in front of her to ask politely if she knew the way to Poppy Street. Yet relatively few are available online. Rasha Abbas, “The Gist of It,” tr.