Peter Christopher Sebastian Theroux (born 1956) is an American writer and translator. He studied English literature at Harvard University, and spent a year at the American University in Cairo. He worked as a journalist in Saudi Arabia, and for a time was a stringer for The Wall Street Journal. He is a brother of authors Paul and Alexander Theroux, and the uncle of actor, scriptwriter, and director Justin Theroux.
Life and career
Theroux was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Catholic parents; his mother, Anne (née Dittami), was Italian American, and his father, Albert Eugene Theroux, was French Canadian. His mother was a grammar school teacher and his father was a salesman for the American Oak Leather company.
Theroux's first translated literary work was a volume of Cities of Salt, the epic novel cycle by the Saudi writer Abdelrahman Munif, and he translated two further novels in that cycle. Other works he has translated include:
- Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz
- Rites of Assent by the Egyptian writer Abd al-Hakim Qasim
- Naphtalene: A Novel of Baghdad by the Iraqi writer Alia Mamdouh
- Yalo by Elias Khoury
- Journey to the Heart of My Enemy by the Iraqi writer Najem Wali
- Dongola: A Novel of Nubia by Idris Ali (winner of the Arkansas Arabic Translation Award)
- The House of Mathilde by Hassan Daoud
- Saraya: The Ogre's Daughter: a Palestinian Fairy Tale by Emile Habiby
Theroux has translated literary works from a wide range of Arabic dialects including Egyptian, Iraqi, and Lebanese. His translations are highly regarded. Fellow translator Raymond Stock said of his work "[t]here's none better. His translations are clear and poetic and read like they’re written in English".
Alongside these, Theroux has written books of his own, including Sandstorms (1990) that recounted his travels in the Middle East. He has also contributed pieces to National Geographic magazine. Theroux currently lives in Washington DC. He is the younger brother of novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux and the uncle of Justin Theroux, Marcel Theroux, and Louis Theroux.
- Profile in Washington City Paper
- The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. 2003. p. 1668. ISBN 1-85743-217-7.
- Cheuse, Alan (4 June 1989). "A worldly education Paul Theroux imagines a much-traveled writer's active erotic life". Chicago Tribune.