Marmaduke Pickthall was an Islamic scholar, esteemed novelist, journalist and religious leader whose translation of the Qur’an in 1930 remains a milestone in bringing Islam’s holy text to an English audience. His admirers included D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells and E.M. Forster.

Yet his great, great niece Sarah Pickthall knew nothing of this until she discovered his books in her father’s library in the weeks following his death. So began a journey of research and creative enquiry back through her bloodlines to find out more about the man and his work, a journey that gradually expanded to explore far-reaching ideas of British Muslim identity and what it means to be a person out of step with the times.

Sarah was accompanied on this journey by Peter Clark, biographer of Marmaduke and self-confessed ‘Pickthall nerd’ and writer, artist and theatre practitioner Hassan Mahamdallie. They join her for this event to discuss Marmaduke, his legacy and the unique artistic expedition he inspired them to mount through their own lives.


Peter Clark

Peter Clark is a writer, translator and tour consultant. He worked for the British Council for thirty years, mostly in Arab countries. Among his many published works are ‘Marmaduke Pickthall: British Muslim’ (published 1986 and to be reprinted in 2016), books on Charles Dickens and eight books translated from Arabic.

Sarah Pickthall

Sarah Pickthall is an an artist, consultant and producer with a specialism in digital and disability, working internationally through her company As a child, the literary works of her great great uncle Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall sat on a high shelf in her father’s study. It was only at his death that Sarah went to that shelf and first read ‘Saı̈d the Fisherman’, followed swiftly by Peter Clark’s ‘Maramaduke Pickthall – British Muslim’. Sarah is interested in the the relevance of her relation’s life, his conversion to Islam and his writing of ‘The Meaning of the Glorious Quran’ to our lives today.