Salma Khadra Jayyusi – Palestine

Linked with The Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre KSCC, and (on January 13, 2009) with Palestine

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Salma Khadra Jayyusi, is a Palestinian poet, critic, translator, and anthologist. Born in Salt in East Jordan, she spent her childhood in Acre, then lived in Jerusalem where she finished her secondary education.She graduated in Arabic and English literature from the American University of Beirut and, later, obtained a Ph.D. from the University of London. Her doctoral thesis, Trends and Movements in Modern Arabic Poetry, was published by Brill, Leiden, in two volumes. She has traveled widely and has lived in many places in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, first as a diplomat’s wife, then as professor of Arabic literature. She has taught at the Universities of Khartoum, Algiers, and Constantine, and in America at the Universities of Utah, Washington, and Texas. She has published her poetry and critical writings in many journals in the Middle East and abroad. Her first collection, Return from the Dreamy Fountain, was published in 1960.The June 1967 war made her suspend publication of her second diwan, and since then she has published little of the poetry she has written. Shocked at the fact that very little Arabic literature has been translated into the leading modern languages, in 1980 she founded PROTA (Project of Translation from Arabic), which aims at the dissemination of Arabic culture abroad, and to this enterprise she dedicated her full time and energy. In addition to the present anthology, she has finished editing two others: Modern Arabic Fiction and Drama (forthcoming, Columbia University Press), and The Literature of Modern Arabia (forthcoming, Kegan Paul International). (On zoominfo, original no more available).

Another bio on zoominfo with the original no more available: – Published on: 11/6/2007, Last Visited: 11/6/2007.

She says: “In my view there is no more demanding work that deserves our dedicated collaborative efforts at the present time than inter-cultural understanding”. (1000peacewomen).


Salma Khadra Jayyusi – Palestine

She works for The Project for the Translation of Arabic PROTA (on

… The effort to translate Arab women writers into English is now more systematic. The Project for Translation from Arabic (PROTA), established and directed by the Palestinian poet, editor, and translator Salma Khadra Jayyusi, has helped bring out in English works by Palestinian women writers like Fadwa Touqan, Sahar Khalifeh, and Liana Badr, along with works by other Arabs. Recently, Garnet Publishing of London began a series called “Arab Women Writers” edited by the Jordanian novelist and critic Fadia Faqir. The five novels published so far are by the Palestinian Liana Badr, the Iraqi Alia Mamdouh, the Syrian Hamida Na’na’, the Egyptian Salwa Bakr, and the Lebanese Huda Barakat … (full long text, August 1996).

Find her and her publications on amazon; on alibris; on LibraryThing; on Banipal 2008; on; on pipl; on Google Video-search; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

Specially her book: Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology (Hardcover), by Salma Jayyusi.

… Jayyusi later realized that it was equally important to introduce cogent cultural studies as well into the programme. She then founded East-West Nexus, and her first work in this field was The Legacy of Muslim Spain, a 1,100-page book written by 42 world scholars. Published by Brill in the Netherlands, it has gone into several printings in hardback and paperback and was declared by Brill an absolute bestseller. In 1999, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to do research on the life of the Palestinians in the 20th century as depicted in their personal account writings, and spent the years 1999-2000 doing research in Syria, Jordan and the West Bank, three places with a large concentration of Palestinians. Jayyusi has received several awards for her outstanding achievements and continues to be involved in numerous projects. Her most recent work, My Jerusalem: Essays, Reminiscences and Poems appeared last year. (full text).

Google download books:

… Salma Khadra Jayyusi is Palestinian in origin and is a poet, historian and critic of modern Arabic poetry. In the 1980s, she founded PROTA (the Project for the Translation of Arabic Literature). She campaigned to raise money required for translation and publication. She commissioned translations and engaged several publishers to bring out volumes of fiction, poetry and drama. She has always used two translators — one to translate from Arabic into English, and another one (whose knowledge of Arabic may be limited) to polish it up for a foreign readership … (full text, August 09, 2007).

1000peacewomen: Born in 1927, Salma Khadra Jayyusi is a gifted poet, with a critically distinguished vision. Her contribution to shaping the Arab cultural landscape and its multi-disciplinary interface with the world spanned over 50 years and crossed geographical and linguistic boundaries. A Palestinian, she was one of the early innovators in the contemporary Arab literary movement that emerged after the occupation (Nakba) of Palestine in 1948, focusing on the tumult of Arab critical debates on literature and its interaction with society.Salma Jayyusi was born 1927 in Jordan to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother, but she grew up in Palestine soaked in scholarly family, fascinated with books on Arab/Islamic and Western culture. Throughout her early life, she watched her father’s day-to-day commitment to achieve justice and peace for the Palestinians, both as lawyer and as a Palestinian political activist. Jayyusi’s secondary education was completed at Schmidt’s Girls College in Jerusalem, and she then obtained a BA with honors in Arabic and English Literature from the American University of Beirut.

Soon after her graduation she married a Jordanian diplomat, Borhan Jayyusi, who traveled extensively around the world. As a diplomat’s wife, Salma Jayyusi lived in several European and Arab countries. In that culturally and intellectually diverse setting Jayyusi has become a gifted solid poet and critic. Jayyusi’s career as a critic began in 1970, when she was studying for her PhD in Arabic literature in School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. It was then that she also began to write in English. Many of her poems and works on cultural history (both in Arabic and English) have been published in books and international journals.

Soon after obtaining her PhD she started off a teaching career, first at the University of Khartoum (1970-1973), then at the Universities of Algiers and Constantine (1973-1975). In 1973, she was invited by MESA (The Middle East Studies Association) of North America to give a series of lectures in Canada and the United States on a Ford Foundation Fellowship. She was a visiting professor for long time, in 1975 at the University of Utah and in 1980 at the University of Texas. Jayyusi has participated in many conferences and has lectured in cultural and academic institutions in the Arab world, the Far East and in the West. In 1987 and 1988 she received a Rockefeller Fellowship at the University of Michigan where she concentrated on research and writing. During this time she completed a study on “Modernist Poetry in Arabic”, published in the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, volume IV.

Jayyusi remained in the United States teaching at several universities before she eventually retired to concentrate on the translation of leading works from the heritage of Arab/Islamic literature into English. She realized that the paucity of Arab literary and cultural material in world languages, which largely lies behind the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of Arab/Islamic culture in the West, must be tackled. With the cooperation of other colleagues in both America and Britain, she helped to found Prota (Project of Translation from Arabic), a project that has supported translating hundreds of leading works from Arabic into English with the aim of introducing some of the best creative literary pieces of classical and modern Arabic literature to the English speaking world.

In 1988, when Najuib Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Jayyusi was invited by the Nobel Academy to attend the awarding ceremonies in Stockholm in recognition of her efforts in cross-cultural communication. By the end of the 1980’s, Jayyusi realized that, beside the translation of the literary works it was equally important to complement the project with material on cultural studies. Therefore, Jayyusi was inspired to create the East-West Nexus for this purpose and the first of her works in this respect was “The Legacy of Muslim Spain”, an 1100 page edited book written by 42 world scholars and was published by Brill in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Jayyusi spent the academic year 1994-1995 as a Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin). Stimulated by its refreshing emphasis on interculturalism, she became deeply interested in Euro-Arab inter-cultural relations, a field that she considers highly vital in the current globalized world. While in Berlin, in a concerted work with Arab and European scholars of classical Arabic history, culture and literature, Jayyusi set out to write a book on “The Culture, Language and Literature in Pre-Islamic Arabia”, for which she held two workshops at the Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin.

She felt that a critical study of the roots of the large corpus of Arabic literature, one of the richest in the world, will lead to a greater understanding of its development as a universal scholastic heritage. In 1999, Jayyusi received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct a research on the life of Palestinians, as reflected in their personal writings. She also spent a year (1999-2000) undertaking researches in Syria, Jordan and the West Bank. (on 1000peacewomen).



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