In this year’s Saif Ghobash Banipal Translation Prize Lecture, Hanan al-Shaykh, the internationally acclaimed Lebanese novelist and playwright, discusses her writing and how it continues on the path of ancient Arabic literary traditions and the great 8th-century poet Abu Nuwas in being open and bold in tackling subjects such as sexuality and feminism. She also explores how travelling between cultures and languages has affected her works and created new encounters with modernity and diversity in cultures, literary genres, and the Arabic language.
Hanan al-Shaykh is a celebrated and award-winning novelist, playwright, journalist and storyteller from Lebanon, renowned for laying bare the world as she sees it, devoid of clichés and stereotypes. Though her works feature female protagonists who struggle to be free of social, patriarchal and religious restrictions, she never labels herself an ‘Arab feminist writer’. Her works have been translated into 21 languages around the world. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the American University of Beirut, and in June this year was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.