Arab Literary Events This Fall in the UK

Photo courtesy Elliott Colla. Please not that Ustaz Sonallah is in poor health and has cancelled his fall trip to the U.K.


All right, August isn’t the fall, but if you’re at the Edinburgh Book Festival, stop by the Tahar Ben Jelloun and Elias Khoury event on the afternoon of August 25. While you’re there, ask Ben Jelloun about all this.

Also, as @Zuberino notes, Ahdaf Soueif has three events yet this month: August 20, 26, and 28. And @starbie99 points out that Hisham Matar will be at the August 28-29 Voewood Festival.


On Saturday, September 4, the great Egyptian novelist and social critic Sonallah Ibrahim was scheduled to be at the Serpentine Gallery for one of their Bidoun Library Saturday Seminars.  Unfortunately, he has been ill. Hopefully, this will be rescheduled at some point. In the meantime, you can read his 2007 novel Stealth, in the original or in lovely translation by Hosam Aboul-ela. And this interview with Elliott Colla.

Two days later, on September 6, Lebanese author Amin Maalouf—on the list for this year’s controversial Man Booker International—will be at the Southbank Centre to talk about his work, including his latest book, Disordered World.

On September 20, at the Mosaic Rooms, Lebanese author Jad el Hage will be launching his new novel, One Day in April.

According to Ahdaf Soueif‘s website, she will be at Free Word on September 30,  which must mean she’s taking part in this year’s International Translation Day. In any case, it should be fun; full-day entry is £20.


Ahdaf Soueif will appear at the Wimbledon Bookfest  on October 7.

A number of Arab writers will be at the Cheltenham Literary Festival (October 7-16), including Inaam Kachachi (The American Granddaughter) and Samuel Shimon (An Iraqi in Paris) on October 10, Khaled al-Khamissi (Taxi, Safinat Noah) on October 15, Leila Aboulela (Lyrics Alley), Hisham Matar (In the Country of Men, Anatomy of a Disappearance), and surely others I missed on this long list of confirmed appearances.

On October 18, Egyptian authors Khaled Al Khamissi, Ahmed Mourad (Vertigo) and Ahmed Khaled Towfik (Utopia) will appear together at the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

On  October 19, Al Khamissi, Mourad and Towfik will appear at an event at Cambridge University.

According to the new publishing imprint Swallow Editions, Syrian author Fadi Azzam will be traveling to London for the launch of Sarmada—their first title. He will be on hand Thursday, October 20 at 7 p.m., at the Mosaic Rooms in central London, for the publishing-house launch.

Also on October 20, Al Khamissi, Mourad and Towfik will appear at a 7:45 p.m. event at the Southbank Centre.

And on October 22, Al Khamissi, Mourad and  Towfik will be at the Durham Book Festival for a daytime event. (Then, isA, they will sleep.)

On October 23, a month before the International Prize for Arabic Fiction longlist is announced, the Manchester Lit Festival will host an IPAF discussion with Raja Alem and Bahaa Taher. Thanks to @beneast74 for the tip.


Mourid Barghouti will appear at the Southbank Centre on November 3 to launch the translation of I Was Born There, I Was Born Here, trans. Humphrey Davies.

Note: If you are planning to attend any of these events, and would like to take photos and/or write up your impressions, please let me know. And if there are other events that should be listed here, please share.

A further note to U.S. readers: I tried to track down U.S. Arab literary events. But I didn’t know where to look. Alwan for the Arts and where else?