Najwa Bin Shatwan

Najwa Bin Shatwan


نجوة بن شتوان

Najwa Bin Shatwan is a Libyan academic and writer who currently lives in Italy. Born in 1970 in Ajdabiya, a town south of Benghazi, she studied Education and was a lecturer at Libyan universities. She holds a PhD in Human Sciences from La Sapienza University, Rome; her dissertation focussed on the slave trade in Libya during the Ottoman period. She is the author of four novels, several collections of short stories, a play, and poetry. She was the first Libyan writer to be shortlisted for The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) with her novel The Slave Yards (2016). She spent the 2018 Banipal Writing Fellowship Residency at Durham University, where she completed her book An Ongoing Coincidence (2019). She has also co-lead a series of creative writing workshops for Arab writers in Sharjah when it was World Book Capital in 2019. Besides the English translation of one novel and one short story collection, several of her short stories have been included in anthologies published by Bloomsbury (Beirut 39 : New Writing from the Arab World, 2010), Saqi Books (Translating Libya: The Modern Libyan Short Story, 2008) and Comma Press (Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations, 2018), Catalyst Press (Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa, 2021).

© Raya Agency
Date of birth : 1970
Country of birth: Libya
Country of residence: Italy
Publisher(s): Dar Athar & Dar Sharqiyat
Contact: Najwa Bin Shatwan

Selected bibliography

  • روما تيرمني, Roma Termini*, Majmu‘at Kalimat, UAE, 2021
  • كتالوج حياة خاصة, Catalogue of a Private Life (short story collection), Dar Athar, Saudi Arabia, 2018. English translation: Catalogue of a Private Life, Dedalus, United-Kingdom, 2021, trans. by Sawad Hussain
  • الملكة, The Queen (short story collection), Majlis Al Thaqafa  Al ‘Amm, Libya, 2009. Italian translation: La Regina, Aracne, Italy, 2016, trans. by M.G. Sciortino
  • مضمون برتقالي, Orange Content*, Dar Sharqiyyat, Egypt, 2008
  • وبر الأحصنة, The Horses’ Hair*, Markaz Al Hadara Al Arabiyya, Egypt, 2005
  • زرايب العبيد, The Slave Yards, Dar Al Saqi, Lebanon, 2016. English translation: The Slave Yards, Syracuse University Press, USA, 2020, trans. by Nancy Roberts

*Working title

English translations of short stories (all translated by Sawad Hussain):


‘Catalogue of a Private Life’: Eight ordinary stories with extraordinary insight in ArabNews, March 2022

The Slave Yards by Najwa Bin Shatwan in Banipal N°68, Summer 2020

A long road to short stories: Najwa Bin Shatwan sheds light on her journey into storytelling in The National (by M. Lynx Qualey), February 2020 

Das Licht am Ende meines Tunnels (in German) in Qantara , July 2017

Prizes and awards

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Cristina Dozio