Jonathan Wright (translator)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jonathan Wright is a British journalist and literary translator.


Wright was born in Andover, Hampshire, and spent his childhood in Canada, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Germany. He attended Packwood Haugh School from 1966 to 1967 and Shrewsbury School from 1967 to 1971. He studied Arabic, Turkish and Islamic civilisation at St John's College, Oxford. He joined Reuters news agency in 1980 as a correspondent, and has been based in the Middle East for most of the last three decades.[when?] He has served as Reuters' Cairo bureau chief, and he has lived and worked throughout the region, including in Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Tunisia and the Persian Gulf region. From 1997 to 2003, he was based in Washington, DC, covering US foreign policy for Reuters. For two years until the fall of 2011 Wright was editor of the Arab Media & Society Journal, published by the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at the American University in Cairo.[1]


Year Title Author Original Title Notes
2008 Taxi Khaled al-Khamissi taksi ḥawadīt ʾil-mašawīr His first major work, published by Aflame Books in 2008 republished by Bloomsbury Qatar in 2012
2009 The Madman of Freedom Square Hassan Blasim majnūn sāḥat ʾal-ḥurriyya A collection of short stories longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010
2011 On the State of Egypt: What Caused the Revolution Alaa Al-Aswany A collection of political essays
2012 Judgment Day Rasha al Ameer yawm ʾad-dīn
2012 Life on Hold Fahd al-Ateeq kāʾin muʾajjal
2012 Azazeel Youssef Ziedan ʿazāzīl Won the Arabic Booker prize in 2009. Won the 2013 Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation
2013 The Iraqi Christ Hassan Blasim ʾal-masīḥ ʾal-ʿirāqī Won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2014
2013 Whatever Happened to the Egyptian Revolution? Galal Amin māḏā ḥadaṯa laṯ-ṯawra ʾal-miṣriyya?
2014 Land of No Rain Amjad Nasser ḥaiṯu lā tasquṭ ʾal-ʾamṭār Commended (runner-up) by the judges of the 2015 Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation
2014 Temple Bar Bahaa Abdelmegid khammārat al-maʿbad
2015 The Bamboo Stalk Saud Alsanousi sāq al-bāmbū Won the Arabic Booker prize in 2013

Won the 2016 Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

2015 Sleepwalkers Sa'd Makkawi ʾas-sāʾirūn niyāman Awaiting publication
2016 The Televangelist Ibrahim Eissa mawlānā
2016 The Longing of the Dervish Hammour Ziada shawq al-darwīsh Winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Prize
2018 Critique of Religious Discourse Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd naqd al-khitāb al-dīnī
2018 Frankenstein in Baghdad Ahmed Saadawi Frankishtayn fī Baghdād Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize

Won the Arabic Booker prize in 2014

2019 Jokes for the Gunmen Mazen Maarouf Nukāt lil-Musallahīn Winner of the Multaqa Prize for Arabic Short Stories

Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize

2019 The Book of Collateral Damage Sinan Antoon Fihris Won second prize in the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding in 2020
2020 The Egyptian Assassin Ezzedine Choukri Fishere Abu ʿUmar al-Misrī
2020 God 99 Hassan Blasim Allāh 99 Nominated for the Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in 2021[2]
2021 Here Is A Body Basma Abdel Aziz Huna Badan
2023 The Disappearance of Mr. Nobody Ahmed Taibaoui Ikhifaa' al-Sayyid La Ahad Winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Prize>

Kidnapping and Escape[edit]

On 29 August 1984, while on a reporting assignment for Reuters in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Wright was detained and held hostage by the Palestinian splinter group led by Abu Nidal in a part of the Lebanon hostage crisis.[3][4] The group wanted to exchange him for members imprisoned in Britain for shooting the Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Argov, in London in June 1982. Wright spent about one week in a small room in a country house near the town of Barr Elias and was then moved to a large villa near the Chouf mountain town of Bhamdoun, above Beirut. In the early hours of 16 September 1984, Wright escaped from captivity[5][6] by removing the plank of wood covering a ventilation hole and crawling through the hole, which was about 10 feet above floor level. He reached the hole by dismantling his metal bedstead and using the frame as a ladder. Once outside, he walked along the Beirut-Damascus highway until he reached a checkpoint manned by the mainly Druze Muslim Progressive Socialist Party. The party militia held him incommunicado at Aley police station until 19 September, when party leader Walid Jumblatt told his aides to drive him to the Reuters office in Beirut.[7]

See also[edit]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ "AUC newsletter on Wright's appointment". Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Banipal Trust for Arab Literature - The Banipal Translation Prize - The 2021 Award". Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Britain Asks Lebanon To Look for Journalist". The New York Times. 4 September 1984. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Moslem Group Holding Journalist". The Calgary Herald. 5 September 1984. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  5. ^ Salameh, Rima (26 September 1986). "British reporter evades kidnapping in Moslem Beirut". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  6. ^ "REUTERS REPORTER RECOUNTS LEBANON ESCAPE". The New York Times. Reuters. 23 September 1984. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  7. ^ "British Journalist Freed". The Deseret News. 22 September 1984. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  8. ^ "The 2013 Prize". Banipal Trust. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014.