NEWPORT, R.I. – Dr. Sally Gomaa, associate professor of English, has published a two-chapter translation of Ibtisam Azem’s novel, Sleep Thief: Ghareeb Haifawi. The translation appears in November’s Banipal, (Magazine of Modern Arab Literature), Issue 45, which features writers from Palestine.
Gomaa was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, and has a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from Alexandria University. After a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, she gained a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from the University of Rhode Island.
“I think Ibtisam Azem has a great talent,” Gomaa said. “Her eloquent and provocative novel is not yet available in English. This short translation in Banipal could draw attention to her work and hopefully interest a publisher in presenting her novel in English.”
Banipal, which is celebrating 15 years of publishing, takes its name from Ashurbanipal, last great king of Assyria and patron of the arts. Ashurbanipal’s outstanding achievement was to assemble in Nineveh, from all over his empire, the first systematically organized library in the ancient Middle East. The thousands of clay tablets of Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian writings included the famous Mesopotamian epics of the Creation, the Flood, and Gilgamesh, many folk tales, fables, proverbs, prayers and omen texts.
“This magazine’s attitude is extremely encouraging of all writers and translators,” Gomaa said. “Margaret and Samuel, the publisher and the editor are driven by a sincere desire to promote Arabic literature. They have created a positive forum for translation of original pieces by both well-known and emerging writers in Arabic, specially, but also in all under-represented languages.”
Gomaa’s publications also include an English translation of Amina Zaydan’s “Red Wine” (AUC Press, 2010). In 2011 she received the Sister M. Therese Antone award from Salve Regina for her efforts to promote intercultural awareness and communication.