These four works were translated into Arabic by Samer Abu Hawwash, who has previous experience of translating American poetry. Kalima has published these works in fifteen volumes, which also contain one thousand poems written by some of the most prominent contemporary American poets. He has also translated the complete works of William Faulkner, as well as two sets of Native American stories.
The New York Times described the novel "Tree of Smoke" as a “masterpiece” and stated that it was the best American novel of 2007. The novel is set between 1963 and 1970 during the Vietnam War, and covers the next forty years, up until the present day. It provides a profound image of American society, examining the transformations that it underwent during this period.
The novel won the prestigious National Book Award in 2007, and was short listed for the Pulitzer Prize. It was Johnson's eighth novel. The author is also known for writing poetry, short stories and plays.
The author Marilyn Robinson has occupied a privileged position on the American literary scene since the 1980’s when her first novel "Housekeeping" was published. She has occupied this position for such a long time, not just because of the popularity of her work, or the critical acclaim she has received which has led her to win one of the most coveted literary prizes in the United States, but also because of the special sphere within which she writes. Despite only having published three novels so far, she has successfully combined the best traditions of narrative American novelists, such as Faulkner and Fitzgerald, and at the same time has touched the spirit of American contemporariness with all its contradictions and intersections. She is known for forging her own path, and not being influenced by popular or temporary literary trends. She achieves this by digging deeply into the intricacies of her characters, and has been so successful at this that some think her writings are semi-autobiographical. She aims to reflect iconic images of American society, particularly through the issues of family and religion, and these aims form the backbone of her three novels.
In these three novels, readers may find that they are met with a different voice to that which they might have expected: an intimate language that combines eloquence and simplicity, poetry and realism, in a world where questions of identity, history, place, the individual and the community are wrestled with. Most importantly of all, questions are posed about the human spirit, curses, sins, forgiveness and the search for happiness or human satisfaction in life. These novels won a number of prestigious literary awards such as the American Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Robinson is one of the most prominent contemporary American and international novelists writing today.
From the outset the Kalima project has been keen to take into consideration the different nuances of the original languages and cultures in its translations. . It has devoted a large portion of its efforts to American literature, and has done the same for French, Italian, German, Indian and other world literatures. The project published a series of studies relating to American history, including the autobiography of President Barack Obama, two books on the US Constitution and the circumstances of its writing, and a variety of books for children and young people. They have also published a series of studies on alternative energy and intellectual property rights. The next stage of the project will include the translation of the series "Daily Life Through History", originally published by the prestigious American Greenwood Press. Other literary and educational titles will also be published as part of the project.
The translator, Samer Abu Hawwash, was born in 1972 in the Lebanese city of Sidon to Palestinian parents. He is a poet, novelist and translator. Among his translations are: "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac; "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel; "The Buddha of Suburbia" by Hanif Kureishi; "Tree of Smoke" by Dennis Johnson and "The Book of Tea” by Okakura Kakuzo. His novels include: "Valentine's Day" and "Happiness". His poetry works include: "Two Trees on the Roof ", "The Greetings of a Gentleman" and "She Sews a Dress to Remember".