English translation of Frankenstein in Baghdad to be published in the US and UK
8 January 2015
Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad, winner of the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction,will be published in both the US and the UK next year. The novel, which reimagines Frankenstein as a zombie seeking revenge in modern-day Iraq, is due to be published in Autumn 2016 by Penguin Books in the US and Oneworld in the UK. The book will be translated by the British journalist and translator Jonathan Wright.
Saadawi, who lives and works in Baghdad, has been described by The New York Times as being ‘at the vanguard of a small group of writers starting to interpret, through fiction, the trauma wrought from the American invasion of 2003.’ He is the first Iraqi to win the IPAF, and, according to The New Yorker, ‘his victory has been hailed by fellow Iraqi and Arab writers as a sign of the resilience of Baghdad, a historically literary and literate city that has suffered immensely since the embargo of the nineteen-eighties.’
Juliet Mabey, publisher at Oneworld, commented: ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad is exactly the sort of translated fiction we are looking for. Using multiple narrators, this atmospheric novel offers an unusually vivid window on life in war-torn Baghdad, from the dangerous and frenetic world of politics to the seedy wheeler-dealer snapping up abandoned houses, the plight of minorities, the vulnerability of journalists, and the colourful fabric of Iraqi street life. No one writing outside Iraq could capture this complexity and richness. The fact that it is by one of the most exciting authors writing in Arabic today, one of the prestigious Beirut39, and is threaded through with dark humour, makes this an especially exciting acquisition for us.’