The Fetishists - Faculty Author Spotlight

Dr. Bill Hutchins - Department of Philosophy and Religion

Friday, Feb. 8, 2019
3 p.m.
Reich College of Education, Room 127


In Hutchin’s epic novel “The Fetishists,” Al-Koni blends Tuareg folklore and history with intense, fond descriptions of daily life in the desert, creating a mirror for life anywhere. Through its tragic rendering of a clash between the Tuareg and traditional African civilizations, the novel profoundly probes the contradictions of the human soul as it takes the reader on a unique spiritual adventure inside the Tuareg world.

Dr. Bill Hutchins graduated from Yale University 1964, where he majored in Art History. Subsequently he moved to the University of Chicago, where in 1967 he obtained a Master of Arts in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in 1971 in Near Eastern languages. His doctoral thesis, on the Persian philosopher Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, is entitled "Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on Knowledge." After stints at Encyclopædia Britannica, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois; the University of Ghana and Harvard University, Hutchins in 1978 joined the faculty at Appalachian in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.. He was promoted to full professor in 1986.

As a translator, Hutchins's best-known work is his translation of the “Cairo Trilogy” by Egyptian Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz. This trio of novels is widely regarded as one of the finest works of fiction in Arabic literature, and Hutchins' translation is the principal version available in English (published by Everyman's Library among others). In addition, he has translated a variety of Arabic authors: Tawfiq al-Hakim, Ibrahim 'Abd al-Qadir al-Mazini, Muhammad Salmawy, al-Jahiz, Nawal El-Saadawi, Muhammad Khudayyir, Ibrahim al-Koni, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Hassan Nasr and others.

In 2005-06, Hutchins received a U.S. National Endowment for the Arts grant in literary translation. His translations have appeared in several issues of Banipal magazine. He has also written a number of original short stories that have been published in the journals Cold Mountain Review and Crucible.

This event is sponsored by the Appalachian State University University Bookstore.

"The University Bookstore is interested in supporting our faculty authors and creating a forum for those with newly published works to share their insights and experiences in writing and publishing with our campus community," said John Pearce, Scholars Bookshop Manager, University Bookstore.

The primary mission of the University Bookstore is to provide students and their families, faculty, staff and alumni, with goods and services to support the educational goals of the institution. Additionally, the bookstore's purpose is to generate funds to support student scholarships. This is accomplished by offering a variety of products from socially and environmentally responsible sources.

For questions, please contact Trixie Wilkie at 828-265-8601 or email at



About the Department of Philosophy and Religion
The Department of Philosophy and Religion invites students to explore the world, examine beliefs, understand a diversity of worldviews, and challenge the ideas and values that instruct our lives. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies, as well as a minor in both of these areas. Learn more at

Dr. William Hutchins headshot
Published: Jan 30, 2019 1:20pm