By Maydaa Nadar
Both the Greek and Arabic cultures are in possession of very rich literature and it is extremely wonderful when Greek and Arabic authors are introduced to each other’s work. In this instance, translator Persa Komotsi translated two of the most important Egyptian novels into Greek: The Nightingale’s Prayer and The Committee.
The Nightingale’s Prayer:
The Nightingale’s Prayer was written by Taha Hussein (1889-1973), one of the most influential 20thcentury Egyptian writers, who was nominated several times for the Noble Prize in literature. His novel sheds light on women’s suffering and society’s criticism against them. The story is about a rural mother called Zahra who had to leave the village with both of her daughters, Hanadi and Amna after the father was killed.
The Committee was written by Sonallah Ibrahim who won the Kavafis’ Award in 2017. The book starts off with the protagonist describing the committee’s members and the surrounding ambiance. Later comes the novel’s most important part which is the journey of discovery. Through this phase, surprising facts are revealed about the story’s main character.
The River Nile’s West Bank:
Worth noting is that Persa Komotsi was born in Egypt where she studied English literature at Cairo University’s Faculty of Arts. She translated around 40 Arabic books to Greek, including about 16 works created by Naguib Mahfouz (1911- 2006) who was the first writer in Arabic to receive the Noble Prize in the literature (1988). She is also the author of various novels, such as The River Nile’s West Bank.
Greece at the Cairo International Book Fair:
The public who visited the Cairo International Book Fair enjoyed some of the most beloved Greek literary works that have been translated into Arabic, as Greece was among one of the countries that took part in this annual event.
Greece’s section included the following renowned books in Arabic: Cavafy’s Poems, Greek Myths, The Biography of Alexander the Great, The Iliad, Electra, Nikos Kazantzakis’ Biography, and Alexis Zorba.
In addition, Greece’s partition comprised of Greek language books, Greek-Arabic and vice versa dictionary, a three-language dictionary (Ancient Greek-English-Arabic), and books for children.