Samira Azzam (1927–1967) was born in Acre, Palestine. She was a teenager when her stories began to appear in the journal Falastin, under the pen name Fatat al-Sahel, or Girl of the Coast. After completing her basic education, she worked as a schoolteacher at 16, and was later appointed headmistress of a girls’ school. In 1948 she fled Palestine with her family to Lebanon, where she became a journalist. Azzam was an acclaimed Arabic translator of English-language classics by Pearl Buck, Sinclair Lewis, Somerset Maugham, Bernard Shaw, John Steinbeck, and Edith Wharton, among others. As ArabLit’s M. Lynx Qualey writes, “Azzam’s work came to prominence in the 1950s, at a time when Palestinian fiction was still focused on the short story.”
Ranya Abdelrahman is a translator of Arabic literature into English. After working for more than 16 years in the information technology industry, she changed careers to pursue her passion for books, promoting reading and translation. She has published translations in ArabLit Quarterly and The Common, and is the translator of Out of Time, a short story collection by the late Palestinian author Samira Azzam. She is currently translating Damascus: The Story of a City by Alaa Mortada, which won the 2019 Etisalat Award for Children’s Literature in the Best Text category, and co-translating best-selling Kuwaiti author Bothayna Al-Essa’s satirical novel Guardian of Superficialities with Sawad Hussain.