First for Work of Arabic Literature: CASA Alum Marilyn Booth Wins International Booker Prize


Marilyn Booth (CASA '80), the Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor in the Study of the Contemporary Arab World and professor and director of research in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford, won the International Booker Prize for translating the novel, Celestial Bodies. The annual prize is awarded for a single book, translated into English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland. This is the first time the award is given to a work of Arabic literature.

Booth grew up in the United States, but spend a year in Beirut, Lebanon at the age of 12, paving the way for her love of Arabic. She graduated with a bachelor's n Near Eastern studies from Harvard-Radcliffe College and a DPhil from St. Antony’s College. he then decided to move to Egypt, where she studied at the AUC's Center for Arabic Study Abroad. Booth previously taught at Brown University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Edinburgh University and New York University Abu Dhabi.

"I am thrilled that this intricate, bold novel with Jokha Alharthi's imaginative rendering of a part of Omani society and history, has won the prize," said Booth. "As a translator and a reader, I admire the Booker International Prize's support for translation as a literary art, and translation-as-art as essential to literary communication. I hope that this prize, given for the first time to a work of Arabic literature, encourages readers to explore the many wonderful works of Arabic literature from across the region, available in fine translations."