More Summer Reads (and Listens): New Arab and Arabic Literature Online

I am particularly enjoying the new Beirut-based publication Portal 9:

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From Portal 9

Biography of My Childhood Imagination, by Hazem Saghieh

Children’s bedtime stories are the best stimulus of imagination, for what children learn is permanent and solid, like a stone carving.

The Hayyani Epistle, by Youssef Rakha

In an expression that could perhaps abbreviate the whole of Book of the Sultan’s Seal, Mustafa says: “The world has left a sickness in my heart, whose only cure might come from a journey through another world, or through not being – in this world – an Arab Muslim.”

From Banipal

Curiosity, by Hameady Hamood, trans. William M Hutchins

I wanted to know what had happened. What was the secret of the revolver in one hand and the piece of paper in the other? But I was ordered to leave the coffeehouse with the other patrons.

From Asymptote

Dear God, Your Message Was Received in Error, by Fady Joudah

Did Ibn Rushd really not know what a play was? Or was he trying to translate the genre of theatre into that of poetry when he decided that ‘tragedy’ and ‘comedy’ would parallel ‘panegyric’ and ‘satire,’ respectively? Was this his early idea of “cultural translation”? Are these even important questions to ask here?


From Brooklyn Rail

Two Words” and “Afterwards“, by Mohamed Metwalli, trans. Gretchen McCullough

“I was disturbed when I found trees sprouting out of my poem

From the Poetry Translation Centre

New Abdellatif Laâbi podcast, featuring 15 poems read by Laâbi and translator André Naffis-Sahely, by turns.


  1. Thanks for the post, M (now I feel like I’m talking to M from James Bond). If you don’t me asking, what are your favourite Arabic literature publications (journals, magazine, blogs… etc)? Maybe the list could make another great blog post.

    1. (I promise, not a spy for anyone other than ArabLit readers.)

      Well, there are Kikah, Qadita, others…following authors on Facebook… You’re right, I’ll put that list on my to-do.

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