Podcast: Mayada Ibrahim on “Symphony of the South”

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Transcript: Mayada Ibrahim

Mayada Ibrahim speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her translation of “Symphony of the South,” a short story by Tahir Annour that appears in The Common’s most recent issue, in a portfolio of writing in Arabic from Chad, South Sudan, and Eritrea. Mayada talks about the process of translating this piece, including working with the author and TC Arabic Fiction Editor Hisham Bustani. She also discusses gravitating toward translation as a way to reintegrate Arabic into her life, after years of studying and learning in English. Her translation of Forgive Me, a novel set in Zanzibar and co-translated with her father, will be out in the UK this year.

portrait of author and issue cover

Mayada Ibrahim is a literary translator based in Queens, New York, with roots in Khartoum and London. She works between Arabic and English. Her translations have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published by Archipelago Books, Dolce Stil Criollo, and 128 Lit. She is managing editor at Tilted Axis Press.

­­Read “Symphony of the South” in The Common at thecommononline.org/symphony-of-the-south.

To learn more about Mayada and her work, visit mayadaibrahim.com.


The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag.

Emily Everett is managing editor of the magazine and host of the podcast. Her debut novel All That Life Can Afford is forthcoming from Putnam Books. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She was a 2022 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Fiction.

Podcast: Mayada Ibrahim on “Symphony of the South”

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