Banipal is now shipping out copies of issue 47: Fiction from Kuwait:
The issue features both overview-essays on novel- and short-story writing in Kuwait, as well as the publishing industry, 10 novel excerpts and more than a dozen short stories.
In his opening editorial, Samuel Shimon writes:
“In the early years of Banipal, perhaps around 2001, we began debating the idea of producing a feature dedicated to Kuwaiti literature. After some deliberation, we decided to save the idea for later. On the one hand, Kuwaiti literary production still appeared to be dominated by a preoccupation with the effects of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the country’s subsequent liberation. … On the other hand, we did not perceive any new ‘faces’ emerging on the literary scene, and hadd already published a number of Kuwait authors individually[.]”
“From 2005 to the present day, however, it is fair to say that many new literary talents have emerged, particularly in the novel and short story genres that currently dominate Kuwaiti literary output, advanced by such figures as Bothayna al-Essa, Saud al-Sanousi, Ali Husseain al-Felkawi, Basima al-Enezi, Hameady Hamood, Mona al-Shammari and Yousef Khalifa, whose works form the core of our current issue.”
Shimon credits Kuwaiti author Taleb Alrefia with putting forward the idea of the issue, which was co-produced by the Kuwaiti Cultural Circle.
Thus far, I’ve been more interested in the novel excerpts (Bothayna al-Essa’s An Unexpected Encounter in Uppsala, Ismail Fahd Ismail’s When the Frog Croaked) than in the stories (Yousef Khalifa, Laila al-Othman), which have felt too wrapped-up, with the exception thus far of Waleed al-Rajeeb’s three short-shorts, which have taken a somewhat more open, imagistic turn.