NOTE: The launch of Amjad Nasser’s Land of No Rain has been postponed.
The launch of Land of No Rain, Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser’s first novel, was set to be held at the Mosaic Rooms tomorrow. However, because of the ongoing London Underground strike, the launch has been postponed. There was no new launch date immediately available.
And, since we’re postponing things: Nasser’s “A Postponed Poem for New York.”
Land of No Rain is Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser’s first novel, and it arrived in 2010 to wide acclaim, including plaudits from Ahdaf Soueif and Elias Khoury. It’s now been translated by Jonathan Wright — the co-winner of this year’s Banipal translation prize:
The launch, set to be held at the Mosaic Rooms, will feature both author and translator.
According to the press materials:
Land of No Rain takes place in Hamiya, a fictional Arab country run by military commanders who treat power as a personal possession to be handed down from one generation to the next. The main character was forced into exile from Hamiya twenty years earlier for taking part in a failed assassination attempt on the military ruler known as the Grandson. On his return to his homeland, he encounters family, childhood friends, former comrades and his first love, but most importantly he grapples with his own self, the person he left behind.
Soueif called it: “‘Gentle, sad, hopeful – a poet writing prose at his mature best.”
Nasser was born in 1955, and his first poems were published in Jordanian newspapers at the age of twenty. He began working as a journalist in 1976, first in Jordan, than Beirut, then Cyprus, and most lately London. That’s where he co-founded Al-Quds al-Arabi, where he edits the cultural section.
He’s previously had one volume of poems published in English, Shepherd of Solitude: Selected Poems, translated by Khaled Mattawa. And in addition to his many collections of poetry, Nasser also published two prose works previous to his novel, the travel books Flight of Wings (1998) and Under More than One Sky (2002), for which he was recognized with the Ibn Battuta Prize for Travel Writing in 2009.
From the novel
Amjad Nasser on the Arabic novel
Banipal founder Margaret Obank, with Amjad Nasser, reading his poetry in English translation. And laughing.
Selected poems in translation