Skip navigation to content

Ms Catherine Cobham, Lecturer

Catherine CobhamContact Information
Phone: 01334 463642
Office: Buchanan 108

Head of Department of Arabic and Persian
Departmental Exams Officer

Module surgery hours:
10.30-11.30 for AR4401; 11.30-12.30 for AR4421 and AR3421

Full research profile

Research and Teaching

Catherine Cobham’s research area is modern Arabic fiction. She has published papers on aspects of the writing of Naguib Mahfouz, Abdelilah al-Hamdouchi and Hanan al-Shaykh, among others. Over the last few years she has had a particular interest in Iraqi novels and short stories written by the generation of writers who came to prominence between the 1950s and 1970s, notably Gha’ib Tu’ma Farman, Fu’ad al-Takarli, and Mahdi Isa al-Saqr. Her work is distinguished by an emphasis on detailed textual analysis, by its understanding of the literary and cultural context of the works analysed (including the way they were received by contemporary critics in the Arab world), and by its ability to draw on modern literary critical themes and approaches. She has also translated numerous works by modern and contemporary Arab writers, including Mahmoud Darwish, Yusuf Idris, Naguib Mahfouz, Hanan al-Shaykh and Fuad al-Takarli.

She currently teaches both Arabic language (at the honours level) and modern Arabic literature, in the following modules: Advanced Arabic Language, Arabic Short Stories, Exile and Identity, the Arabic Novella. In the past she has also taught modules on the Postcolonial Arabic Novel in English translation and contributed to subhonours language and literature teaching.

PhD Supervision

Khaled Ghazel, Tiran Manucharyan

Selected translations

A River Dies of Thirst, translation of Athar al-farasha, prose and poetry by Mahmud Darwish, London: Saqi, 2009; New York: Archipelago Books, 2009

Only in London, translation of Innaha Lundun, ya 'azizi by Hanan al-Shaykh (selected for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize; reprinted Bloomsbury 2010)

The Long Way Back, translation of al-Raj' al-ba'id by Fu'ad al-Takarli (American University in Cairo Press, 2001)

The Harafish, translation of al-Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz (American University of Cairo Press and Doubleday, New York, 1994)


The Iraqi Novel: Key Writers, Key Texts
Cobham, C. M. & Caiani, F. Aug 2013 Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 264 p.
Research output: Book/ReportBook

A River Dies of Thirst, translation of journals (prose/poetry) by Mahmoud Darwish
Cobham, C. M. 2009 London: Saqi Books. 165 p.
Research output: Book/ReportBook


The poetics of space in two stories by Hanan al-Shaykh
Cobham, C. M. 2002 La poétique de l'espace dans la littérature arabe moderne. Hallaq, B., Ostle, R. & Wild, S. (eds.). Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, p. 131-142
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Bread and cinema: Baghdad in al-Nakhla wa-'l-jiran by Gha'ib Tu'ma Farman
Caiani, F. & Cobham, C. M. 2010 In : Middle Eastern Literatures. 13, 3, p. 231-259 28 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The Other Shore: Dialogue and Difference in Mahdi Isa al-Saqr's al-Shati' al-thani
Cobham, C. M. & Caiani, F. 2008 In : Middle Eastern Literatures. 11, 3, p. 265 – 281 17 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Khazin al-la-mar'iyyat: heroes for our time, or 'He not busy being born is busy dying'
Cobham, C. M. Aug 2006 In : Middle Eastern Literatures. 9, 2, p. 217-223
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Enchanted to a stone: heroes and leaders in The Harafish by Najib Mahfuz
Cobham, C. M. Aug 2006 In : Middle Eastern Literatures. 9, 2, p. 123-135
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reading and Writing in Al-Masarrat Wa'l-Awja by Fu'ad al-Takarli
Cobham, C. M. Jan 2004 In : Journal of Arabic Literature. 35, 1, p. 25-44 20 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The Long Way Back: possibilities for survival and renewal in al-Raj' al-ba'id by Fu'ad al-Takarl l
Cobham, C. M. Jul 2002 In : Middle Eastern Literatures. 5, 2, p. 181-194
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The Arabic literary heritage: The development of its genres and criticism
Cobham, C. 2001 In : JOURNAL OF SEMITIC STUDIES. 46, p. 183-185 3 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle