Banipal Book Club: The Old Woman and the River by Ismail Fahd Ismail

31 March '21 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

The Banipal Book Club is back with another event. The book under discussion will be The Old Woman and the River by Kuwaiti writer Ismail Fahd Ismail, translated by Sophia Vasalou, and published by Interlink. Sophia Vasalou will be joining for a short Q&A.

The Old Woman and the River was originally published in Arabic as Sabiliyat and was shortlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. You can read an extract of it, translated by William Hutchins in Banipal 58. The novel was shortlisted for the 2020 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.

Ismail Fahd Ismail (1940 – 25 September 2018) is regarded as the founder of the art of the novel in Kuwait. After the appearance of The Sky Was Blue, in 1970, he published 27 novels, as well as three short story collections, two plays and several critical studies. The Phoenix and the Faithful Friend was long-listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014. He was revered for his encouragement of new Kuwaiti and Arab literary talent.

Sophia Vasalou studied Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS and Cambridge (where she took her PhD in 2006). She has held research fellowships at Gonville & Caius College in Cambridge, Orient Institut Beirut, Oxford Brookes University, and New York University Abu Dhabi. At present, she works in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham as a Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in philosophical theology. Her translation work has ranged from pre-modern to modern Arabic texts, and includes both fiction and philosophy.

This event will be taking place via Zoom on Wednesday 31 March 2021 at 6:30 – 8.00pm BST. To join the Banipal Book Club discussion, register in advance by sending an email to You will then be sent the details required to access the Zoom meeting.




Banipal Book Club