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Dr Charis Olszok

Modern Arabic literature; comparative literature; animal studies
Dr Charis Olszok

University Lecturer in Modern Arabic Literature and Culture

Office Phone: 01223 765083


Charis Olszok studied French and Arabic at the University of Oxford, before going on to complete her MA in Arabic Literature and her PhD at SOAS, with a scholarship from the Wolfson Foundation. She finished her PhD in 2016, looking at the depiction of animals in modern Libyan fiction from 1965-2011. In the course of her work, she examined how animals were used to formulate protest against Gaddafi’s dictatorial regime, and comment upon the country’s sudden oil wealth and rapidly changing social realities. She also focused on how portrayals of animals were constituted through the Islamic, Sufi and folkloric influences on Libyan fiction, relating them to other intriguing examples of animal depiction within the broader Arabic literary tradition. Following her PhD, she joined the University of Cambridge as Lecturer in Modern Arabic Literature and Culture, and as a Bye-Fellow and Director of Studies for King’s College. In addition to her research, she has translated numerous short works of modern Arabic fiction into English, as well as two novels.

Subject groups/Research projects

Arabic & Persian Studies:

Research Interests

Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature; Comparative Literature; Animal and Eco-critical Studies.

Key Publications

‘Creaturely Memory: Animal Tales and Deep History in Modern Libyan Fiction’, Middle Eastern Literatures 19.3 (2016).

Other Publications

‘Ibrahim al-Koni,’ The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 January 2015. [, accessed 17 October 2016.]

Ebola ’76 (co-translation with Emily Danby of Amir Tag Elsir’s ‘Ibūlah 76), London: Darf Publishers, 2015.

African Titanics (translation of Abu Bakr Khaal’s Tītānīkāt Ifrīqiyyah), London: Darf Publishers, 2014.