“Salma describes Jordanian women’s obsession with marriage as ‘maniacal,’ and I was reminded of Lorca’s ‘Yerma,’ another woman seen as a failure and ridiculed by her peers.”
“Age manipulation can make entire families physically appear to be of a single generation: such is the case with the Christian community of Fuhais, who in a literalist reading of the Bible have all decided to live their lives in the same blissful childhood state.”
“It’s difficult for me to predict the destiny of Arabic creative writing, but I think that we have to listen more to reality than we used to, but without being slaves to it, and without being mechanical reflections of reality.”
Instead of appearing at Amherst in person, Jordanian writer Hisham Bustani is now scheduled to appear via Skype.
“The feeling of guilt has clung to me since childhood, since I first realized that my attraction towards men was sexual.”
Jordanian novelist Amjad Nasser finally held a “launch” event for the English version of Land of No Rain, along with translator Jonathan Wright, earlier this month. Translator Elisabeth Jaquette was there: By Elisabeth Jaquette “I’m not sure what to call Land of No Rain. The… Read More ›
Yesterday, the University of Arkansas formally announced the co-winners of their 2014 Arabic Translation Prize. Today, a story from co-winning author Hisham Bustani, trans. co-winning translator Thoraya El-Rayyes.
Today, the Gallatin School of New York University inaugurates its “Gallatin Global Writers” series. It was to be kicked off by universally acclaimed Jordanian-British poet and novelist Amjad Nasser. Then he was refused entry by Homeland Security
Often, we contemporary English-language readers look to authors as our world’s moral compasses. Sometimes it works, and they lead us true. Great authors speak some sort of truth, at least about their particular obsessions. But mediocre, good, even great authors — Knut Hamsun usually comes to mind — sometimes follow their compass into ugliness.
This year, 2014CE, hasn’t been a very particularly good one for real-world human ventures. Fortunately, however, it has been an excellent one for Arabic literature in translation: Iman Humaydan Younes’s circling “Other Lives”; Radwa Ashour’s emotional “Tantoureya” and “Blue Lorries”; Jabbour Douaihy’s sharp “June Rain”; Sonallah Ibrahim’s compelling “Stealth” was re-issued; two more volumes of the incredible “Leg over Leg”; several interesting collections. But the book that has made my year, thus far, is Amjad Nasser’s “Land of No Rain.”
“For the poetic parts I couldn’t forget Eliot of course, who sometimes hovers there. I even cheated and slipped some Eliot in, with Amjad’s permission.”
The 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction has been awarded — to Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad — but yesterday, IPAF Board of Trustees’ chair Yasir Suleiman noted that there are many gems to be found on the prize’s longlists. Richard Cozzens here reviews Ibrahim Nasrallah’s longlisted Edge of the Abyss for 7iber and ArabLit, a novel he says is, in its best moments, about violence and the act of creation.