Denys Johnson-Davies (Arabic: دنيس جونسون ديڤيز) is an eminent Arabic-to-English literary translator who has translated, inter alia, several works by Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, Sudanese author Tayeb Salih, Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish and Syrian author Zakaria Tamer.
Davies, referred to as “the leading Arabic-English translator of our time” by the late Edward Said, has translated more than twenty-five volumes of short stories, novels, plays, and poetry, and was the first to translate the work of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. He is also interested in Islamic studies and is co-translator of three volumes of Prophetic Hadith. He has also written a number of children’s books adapted from traditional Arabic sources, including a collection of his own short stories, Fate of a Prisoner, which was published in 1999.
Born in 1922 in Vancouver, Canada to English parentage, Davies spent his childhood in Sudan, Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya, and then was sent to England at age 12. Davies studied Oriental languages at Cambridge, and has lectured translation and English literature at several universities across the Arab World. In 2006, he published his memoirs. In 2007, he was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award "Culture Personality of the Year", a valued at about $300,000.
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