Hassan Blasim, an increasingly renowned Iraqi short story writer who The Guardian surmises as ‘perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive’, has to date had his work translated and published in 23 different languages from all around the world. He is currently based in Finland.
Hassan’s stories first appeared on the website iraqstory.com, which he co-edited, and were first printed in the anthology Madinah (commissioned by Comma Press in 2008). His debut collection The Madman of Freedom Square was published by Comma a year later, in 2009 (translated by Jonathan Wright), and was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His second collection, The Iraqi Christ (again translated by Jonathan Wright) was published by Comma in April 2013, and won the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize – the first Arabic title and the first short story collection ever to win the award.
The success of Blasim’s works having been translated into 23 languages – including Polish, Norwegian and German – indicates support and demand for Iraqi stories from an insider’s perspective. We believe that such a magnitude of positive responses to Blasim’s works springs from his authenticity as a voice telling stories of fellow Iraqis in their war-torn country, who are often left invisible and insignificant to the Western world. Unlike many of his Arab counterparts, known for their beautiful language, the stylistic straightforwardness in his narration intensifies the bleakness of his narratives, very apt to Blasim’s writing intention in telling the truth about Iraq. By zooming into and magnifying the lives of individual Iraqis he hopes to illustrate a more accurate and complete picture of his home country which he thought has been distorted by Western media.
To celebrate his translation successes, we are glad to display the front covers of Blasim’s short story collections that have been translated and produced by many different publishers. These visual representations of Blasim’s stories are unique and add meaning to the collection in their own ways.
Lik på utstilling
Published: Aschehoug, 2016
Published by: Uitgeverji Jurgen Maas, 2017
Szaleniec z Placu Wolności
Published by : Biuro Literackie, 2013
Özgürlük Meydanı Delisi
Published by: Pan Yayıncılık San. ve Tic. Ltd. Şti, 2014
Published by: Nouvelles Seuil, 2017
El loco de la plaza Libertad
Published by: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2016
Published by: Werner Soderstrom Osakeyhtio, 2012
Der Verrückte vom Freiheitsplatz
Published by: Verlag Antje Kunstmann, 2015
If you are interested to read Blasim’s works in English, they are available for purchase in bookstores, on Amazon and on our website commapress.co.uk.
* This blogpost was written by Amalina Taib, our work experiencer who undertakes the Sales and Marketing Assistant position at Comma. She is currently a third year English Literature undergraduate at Lancaster University.