Iman Mersal Tuesday in Alberta; Sinan Antoon Friday in New York

If you’re in Edmonton, Alberta, don’t miss a reading tonight by Egyptian poet Iman Mersal, part of the Olive Reading Series:

Iman is apparently “one of Edmonton’s best-kept literary secrets,” although the Edmonton Journal said the same thing about her a couple months ago…can she still be considered a secret?

The Olive Reading Series organizers are apparently continuing the effort to out Mersal from an erstwhile secrecy, quoting York University Prof. Walid El Khachab: “She’s one of the most original, one of the most quoted, one of the most spoken about [poets in the Arab world]. … When you think of the most prominent female Canadian novelist, you think of Margaret Atwood. When I ask myself the same question about Arabic poetry, I automatically think of Iman.”

Is Atwood Christian? Anyhow.

The reading is tonight at 7 at a place called the “Empress Ale House.

A few poems by Mersal, trans. Khaled Mattawa. And her blog, if you haven’t seen it. Oh, and another new poem and video on The Edmonton Journal. 


If you find yourself closer to New York City than to Edmonton, then I urge you to drift over to the BookCourt for a reading by Archipelago’s excellent, multi-platinum-award-winning translators. (Wine and cheese reception to follow.)

Translators include Sinan Antoon (who is also, of course, a novelist, and was just commended by PEN for his translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence), Ross Benjamin (whose translation of Joseph Roth’s Job was wonderful), Richard Sieburth (who won the 2000 PEN/Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize), Alyson Waters (named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government), and Peter Wortsman (whose Selected Tales of the Brothers Grimm is forthcoming from Archipelago next spring).

More here.