It is not unusual to receive notes about books banned in Saudi Arabia. But the science fiction novel HWJN was one of the country’s top-sellers since its release late April. Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt’s novel — trans. Bahjatt — has also gotten tremendous word-of-mouth buzz on Twitter. Now, the book has been charged with blasphemy and devil-worshiping and is no longer being sold at major stores in the KSA.
Although al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Jeddah theatre artists “ruled out” calling for a Saudi “theatre spring,” the Saudi Gazette noted Sobahi’s participation in the Edinburgh Fringe as a break-through for Saudi theatre; it certainly was much-covered in UK press. Sarah Irving reviews the show.
It was 2007 when “Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak” was published.
This June, the Shubbak Festival in London brought together authors Jana Elhassan and Mohamed Hassan Alwan in conversation with BBC broadcaster, writer, and arts critic Bidisha. Attending the event were representatives of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Banipal magazine, as well as literary translators, bloggers, critics and readers. ArabLit contributor Amira Abd El-Khalek was there.
Popular Saudi writer Turki al-Hamad has been released after five months in detention. Al-Hamad, like Saudi poet Hamza Kashgari, was detained for a series of tweets.
Mostly enthusiastic stories and tweets marked the opening day of the Riyadh International Book Fair: The fair opened at 10 a.m. yesterday, with the country’s Committee for the Prevention of Vice & Promotion of Virtue (PVPV) police apparently sidelined, although… Read More ›
This past Sunday, the general assembly of the Arab Publishers Association met Sunday at the Cairo International Book Fair to elect a new president (Essam Shalaby) and address other issues: Among these came a unanimous decision to boycott the Riyadh International… Read More ›
Yesterday in Saudi Arabia, best-selling novelist Turki al-Hamad, one of the KSA’s most well-known writers, was arrested for remarks he posted on Twitter. The tweets in question — about a dozen of them, published on Dec. 22 — criticize religion. These two… Read More ›
Mohammed Hassan Alwan, a former “Beirut39” laureate, is one of the young writers (born 1979) on the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction Longlist. He made the rolls this year for The Beaver, his fourth novel, and is the only Saudi… Read More ›
Some say the most vibrant discussions are online. However: 1) Ahmad wouldn’t give his name in the article, and 2) Hamza Kashgari is now in solitary confinement in a Riyadh prison for free discussion of ideas on Twitter.
The Riyadh International Book Fair continues to be a cultural clash point in the KSA. It’s one of the few times and places where Saudis and foreigners, men and women and books can mix (sort of) freely. This has made… Read More ›
By Zuberino, Guest Author Yesterday afternoon, London played host to the winners of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (popularly known as the “Arabic Booker”): Morocco’s Mohammed Achaari and the Saudi author Raja Alem. Their first ever joint reading… Read More ›