In a Fertile Desert

Selected and Translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

‘[Denys Johnson-Davies is] the leading Arabic-English translator of our time.
Edward Said

Long before the riches of oil, this region was harsh, and many of the stories in this collection – both by men and women and from each corner of the region – tell of those times, and chart the extraordinary changes that have taken place in the space of just two generations. Some tell of the struggles of the early, while others are preoccupied with bringing the immediate past and present together, and in doing so reveal that the past, despite its frequent difficulties and dangers, possesses a powerful nostalgia.

In a Fertile Desert, Modern Writing from the United Arab Emirates is the first volume of short stories to emerge from this commercially and culturally vibrant centre of the Arab world. Denys Johnson-Davies, winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for his lifelong commitment to promoting and translating Arabic literature, has selected the best writing to emerge since the 1970s.

The authors in this volume include Abdul Hamid Ahmed, editor of the English language newspaper Gulf News; Nasser al-Dhaheri, whose short stories have been translated into English, French and Russian; and Muhammed al-Mur, one of the best known contemporary writers from the Emirates.

DENYS JOHNSON-DAVIES has produced more than thirty volumes of translation of modern Arabic literature. He was the editor of The Essential Tawfiq al-Hakim (AUC Press, 2008).

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