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Catherine Cobham is a translator and lecturer whose focus is on modern Arabic fiction, specifically Iraqi novels and short stories written by writers who came to prominence between the 1950s and 1970s. She has translated numerous works by contemporary Arab writers including Mahmoud Darwish, Yusuf Idris, and Naguib Mahfouz. Cobham is a lecturer in Arabic language and literature at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Award History

2023 Finalist

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction
for My Road from Damascus: A Memoir

Jury Citation

Jamal Saeed’s My Road from Damascus uses a haunting poetic lyricism to probe the depths of brutality committed by a repressive regime. Moving back and forth between his present-day life in Canada and his life in Syria, from his first childhood crushes to the 12 years he spent as a political prisoner, Saeed offers us a story about the strength of humanity. At times bracing and darkly comic, this memoir examines the human psyche under extreme conditions of torture and finds poetry, hope, love, and freedom. Saeed’s gift for storytelling and his deeply moving prose allows the reader to follow him wherever he goes.