Denys Johnson-Davies, renowned Arabic to English literary translator dies at 94

Ahram Online , Monday 22 May 2017

Denys Johnson-Davies has translated numerous works by the renowned Egyptian novelists

Denys Johnson-Davies
Denys Johnson-Davies (Photo: Al Ahram Weekly, 2002)

Denys Johnson-Davies, renowned British literary translator died Monday at the age of 94.

As a child, Johnson-Davis lived in Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and England.

He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and at Cambridge University. He then began lecturing English literature and translation at numerous academic institutions across the Arab World.

In his over six-decades long career, Egyptian authors including Nobel Prize-winning Naguib Mahfouz, Yusuf Idris, Salwa Bakr; Sudanese novelist Tayeb Saleh, Palestinian author and poet Mahmoud Darwish, Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer, among many others.

He was described "the leading Arabic-English translator of our time" by the late Edward Said.

As an author, Johnson-Davies wrote over 40 books for children in English, all inspired by the literary classics and stories from the Arab World. He published his collection of short stories in 1999.

In 2006, he published his memoirs where he focused on his journey in the literary translation.

In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious prize "Culture Personality of the Year" by Sheikh Zayed Book Awards.

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