Robert Irwin was born in 1946. He read history at the University of Oxford and, while still an undergraduate, made regular trips to Sufi centres in Algeria and Paris. His novels include The Arabian Nightmare (1983), The Limits of Vision (1986), The Mysteries of Algiers (1988), Exquisite Corpse (1995) Prayer-Cushions of the Flesh (1997) and Satan Wants Me (1999). His many works of non-fiction include The Arabian Nights: A Companion (1994), For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies (2006), the editing and introducing of The New Cambridge History of Islam volume 4, Islamic Cultures and Societies to the End of the Eighteenth Century, both published in 2010, and Memoirs of a Dervish (2011). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, of the London Institute of ’Pataphysics, of the Royal Asiatic Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, as well as a consulting editor at the Times Literary Supplement and a Senior Research Associate of the Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. He received a D.Litt Honoris Causa from SOAS in 2016. A seventh novel, Wonders Will Never Cease, appeared in 2016, and Ibn Khaldun: An Intellectual Biography, in 2018.
Books by Robert Irwin
Interviews with Robert Irwin
Classics of Arabic Literature, recommended by Robert Irwin
The distinguished Arabist, novelist and historian Robert Irwin selects five classics of Arabic literature, from the Life and Work of Jahiz (aka ‘goggle eyes’) to a strange and complex Sudanese masterpiece