Hisham Bustani

Hisham Bustani


هشام البستاني

Hisham Bustani is an award-winning Jordanian author of five collections of short fiction and poetry and a two-volume book on postcolonial theory. He is acclaimed for his bold style and unique narrative voice, and often experiments with the boundaries of short fiction and prose poetry. Much of his work revolves around issues related to social and political change, particularly the dystopian experience of postcolonial modernity in the Arab world. His work has been described as “bringing a new wave of surrealism to [Arabic] literary culture, which missed the surrealist revolution of the last century,” and it has been said that he “belongs to an angry new Arab generation. Indeed, he is at the forefront of this generation – combining an unbounded modernist literary sensibility with a vision for total change…. His anger extends to encompass everything, including literary conventions.” Hisham’s fiction and poetry have been translated into many languages, with English-language translations appearing in journals across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, including the Kenyon Review, New England Review, The Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, World Literature Today, and The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly. His fiction has been collected in The Best Asian Short Stories, The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human: Tales from Many Muslim Worlds, The Radiance of the Short Story: Fiction from Around the Globe among other anthologies. In 2013, the U.K.-based cultural webzine The Culture Trip listed him as one of Jordan’s top six contemporary writers. His book The Perception of Meaning (Syracuse University Press, 2015) won the University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. Hisham is the Arabic fiction editor of the Amherst College-based literary review The Common, and the recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship for Artists and Writers for 2017. His most recent book in translation, The Monotonous Chaos of Existence, was published in January 2022 by Mason Jar Press.

Description thanks to Mason Jar Press

© Mason Jar Press
Date of birth : 1975
Country of birth: Jordan
Country of residence: Jordan

Selected bibliography

  • فوضى, Chaos: The Comic Book*, Nool, France, 2022
  •  الكيانات الوظيفية؛ حدود الممارسة السياسية؛ في المنطقة العربية ما بعد الاستعمار في الفرق بين الدولة والكيان الوظيفي, (Dys)Functional Polities: The Limits of Politics in the Postcolonial Arab Region*, Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, Lebanon, 2021
  • شهيق طويل قبل أن ينتهي كل شيء, A Last Breath Before It’s All Over*, Kotob Khan, Egypt, 2018. English translations: “Packing for a Trip to the Sea” and “Suspended in midair, one-third flexion in the knee joints”, 2021, trans. by Alice Guthrie; “Settling: Towards an Arabic translation of the English word “Home”” and “Shooting at a Handcuffed City”, 2022, trans. by Alice Guthrie
  • مقدمات لا بد منها لفناء مؤجل, Preludes to an Inevitable Demise*, Dar Al-Ain, Egypt, 2014. French translation: the short story “Orbite autour d’une vision” has been published by Orient XXI, trans. by Nada Yafi
  • أرى المعنى, The Perception of Meaning, Dar Al-Adab, Lebanon, 2012. English translation: The Perception of Meaning, Syracuse University Press, Italy, 2015, trans. by Thoraya El-Rayyes
  • الفوضى الرتيبة للوجود, The Monotonous Chaos of Existence, Dar Al-Farabi, Lebanon, 2010. English translation: The Monotonous Chaos of Existence, Mason Jar Press, United States, 2022, trans. by Maia Tabet, excerpt published in The Markaz Review
  • عن الحب والموت, Of Love and Death*, Dar Al-Farabi, Lebanon, 2008

*Working title


The Markaz Review Interview—Hisham Bustani by The Markaz Review, March 2023

Hisham Bustani: flow is very important in my writing, and Arabic flows as a language by The National News, August 2022

Not Lost in Translation—An Interview with Jordanian Author and Activist Hisham Bustani by Middle East Research and Information Project, June 2022

Hisham Bustani, translated by maia tabet, The Monotonous Chaos of Existence (New Texts Out Now)
interview by Jadaliyya, March 2022

Settling: Towards an Arabic translation of the English word “Home” by The Markaz Review, January 2022

Des voix venues de l’intérieur. Vidéo art de Kazz Torabyeh sur cinq poèmes de Hisham Bustani by Orient XXI (videos and poems), December 2019

Hisham Bustani, conteur de l’incertitude by Orient XXI, August 2019

A Review of The Perception of Meaning by Hisham Bustani by The Literary Review, 2015

Prizes and awards

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Sandra Hetzl