Literary Highlights of Spring 2012


March 6-10 Emirates Lit Fest

March 6-16 Riyadh International Book Fair

March 14 This is Jerusalem“: Poetry by Najwan Darwish and music by Basel Zayed. 8 p.m. at the Free Word Lecture Theater.

March 15 Selma Dabbagh discusses her debut novel, Out of Itwith Karma Nablusi at SOAS. 7 p.m. Introduced by Najwan Darwish. (My review of Out of It.)

March 19-24 Durban, South Africa’s “Time of the Writer” festival at Elizabeth Sneddon Theater. Headliner participants include Egyptian novelist Bahaa Taher & Libyan Ibrahim al-Koni.

March 22-26 Second Annual Tahrir Book Fair, at the American University in Cairo’s Tahrir campus.

March 26 M. Lynx Qualey speaks about the “Blog as Cross-Cultural Literary Salon” at the AUC, Tahrir Campus, 6 p.m.

March 27 International Prize for Arabic Fiction winner announced

March 28 Translation Symposium at Queens College, New York City (NYC), USA, with keynote by novelist Elias Khoury. Includes talks by Sinan Antoon and Susan Bernofsky.

March 28-April 2 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

March 28-29 Book launch of Gathering of the Tide with discussions and readings, VCU Qatar in Doha, Qatar.

March 29 Awards presentation ceremony for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award winners at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions center.

March 29 Poets Mahfuz Mir Ali, Rowyda Amin, Nick Makoh, and Shazea Quraishi read at an event at London’s Southbank Centre to celebrate the TEN anthology.


April 2 Iraqi authors Ali Badr, Inaam Kachachi, and Samuel Shimon appear at the Southbank Centre.

April 2 The Road From Damascus, by Robin Yassin Kassab, will be discussed by the Arabic Literature Discussion Group in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

April 3 Performance by Marcel Khalife: An homage to Mahmoud Darwish and the Arab people. Town Hall, NYC.

April 11 Ghassan Zaqtan and Fady Joudah on Palestinian Poetry at Columbia University, NYC. More information TBA soon.

April 12  • Lecture by Elias Khoury at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA
April 16 • NYC launch of As Though She Were Sleeping (trans. Marilyn Booth) with Elias Khoury at NYU’s Kevorkian Center, NYC, USA

April 16-18 London Book Fair. In particular, a stream on “literary translation” and “World Literature: How Much Does It Matter To Us?

April 20-21 The Arkansas Festival of Writers will feature appearances from Sinan Antoon and Randa Jarrar.

April 21 Ahdaf Soueif appears at the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal, Canada at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.  Alaa al-Aswany is also scheduled to appear at the fest; a full list of writers will be available on March 20.

April 23 – May 2 Children’s Book Festival in Sharjah, UAE.

April 24 Tracing Genealogies of Gazan Literature: 1947-2011

April 26 • Reading and celebration with Elias Khoury at Open Book in concert with Mizna. Minneapolis, MN, USA.

April 26 – May 5 Kuwait International Books Exhibition

April 29 Ali Badr, Inaam Kachachi, and Samuel Shimon “Celebrating Iraqi Culture” at the Festival of Ideas in Bristol, UK. 7:30 p.m.

April 29 – May 1 Translation in and of the World, Doha, Qatar.


Marilyn Booth’s translation of Elias Khoury’s As Though She Were Sleeping, from Archipelago.

Ghassan Zaqtan’s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, trans. Fady Joudah, is due from Yale University Press.

Jonathan Wright’s translation of Youssef Ziedan’s Azazeel will, at long last, be released by Atlantic.


May 4 • PEN World Voices A Literary Safari reading. Includes Elias Khoury. New York, NY, USA

May 4-9 PalFest, the Palestine Festival of Literature

May 7 A discussion of Return to Dar al-Basha, by Hassan Nasr at the the Arabic Literature Discussion Group in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

May 10 • Reading and party with Elias Khoury at Alwan for the Arts. New York, NY, USA.

May 21 Ahdaf Soueif gives the Edward Said Annual Lecture at the British Museum in London


Magdy al-Shafee’s Metro from Metropolitan Books, trans. Humphrey Davies.

Hoda Elsadda’s Gender, Nation and the Arabic Novel: Egypt 1892-2008 will be published by Edinburgh and Syracuse Press.

Forthcoming from AUC Press at not-quite-specified dates: Of Noble Origins: A Palestinian Novel, by Sahar Khalifeh, trans. Aida Bamia; Days in the Diaspora: An Egyptian Novel by Kamal Ruhayyim, trans. Sarah Enany and Time of White Horses, by Ibrahim Nasrallah, trans. Nancy Roberts.