January 2015: Global Arab and Arabic Literary Events Calendar

The start of a list of January 2015 events dealing with Arabic literature in some sort of translation. Please add more below.

January 5

download‘One Book’: Many Readings of Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin (Worldwide)

The “One Book” readings begin on January 5 in Dèvillac, France and continue in the cities across the US, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Germany, England, and more. Look for an event in your area.

Arabic Literature group at the Boulder Public Library (Boulder, USA)

January’s discussion is of “The Gaza Kitchen,” by Laila M. El-Haddad and February’s The Seven Veils of Seth: A Modern Arabic novel from Libya, by Ibrahim al-Koni. More here.

January 7

Opening of the Qatar International Book Fair (Doha, Qatar)

Set to run through the 17th. More here.

January 8

A Conversation on The Holy Sail (Doha, Qatar)

A talk with author Abdulaziz al-Mahmoud and Dr. Khaled Hroub on al-Mahmoud’s second novel, due in English translation this year. At the Qatar Book Fair, Doha Exhibition Centre, 5:30 p.m.

January 11

In Loving Memory of Radwa Ashour (Cairo, Egypt)

A memorial set to be held at Ain Shams University. More here.

AUC Press Book Club Discussion with Author Mona Prince (Cairo, Egypt)

At 7 p.m. at the 26th of July Diwan Bookstore in Zamalek. More here.

January 12

International Prize for Arabic Fiction longlist announcement (Worldwide)

According to IPAF organizers, “In just under three weeks, on 12 January 2015, the 16 novels that have made it onto this year’s longlist will be announced, kicking off the highly anticipated 2015 IPAF prize. The shortlisted titles will be revealed soon after that, on Friday 13 February 2015, in Casablanca, Morocco, as will this year’s panel of five judges.”

January 15 

Translator Kareem James Abu-Zeid Reads Darwish and Mikhail (San Francisco, USA)

At 6:30 p.m. at the Fort Mason Center Readers Bookstore & Cafe, as part of the Friends of the SF Public Library “Thursday Poetry” series. Abu-Zeid will be reading poems from two books he translated last year by Najwan Darwish (Palestine) and Dunya Mikhail (Iraq), as well as some other short poems from around the Arab world, in particular the Gulf region. He’ll be closing the reading with a few of his own zen-inspired poems, which he says, “I’m writing more of these days. The reading is free and open to the public – hope to see some of you there!” More here. 

January 17 

“Words into Images” Talk with Tim Mackintosh-Smith (Dubai, UAE)

Words and images are the two main ways we communicate. But how do they relate to each other? Tim found out the hard way when he turned his books into a TV series. If you’re a budding writer or film/ TV director – or both – you’ll find plenty of food for thought from his experiences. Book here.

January 19

Translation Workshop with Tim Mackintosh-Smith (Dubai, UAE)

Europe has Michelangelo and Dickens, the Arab world has al-Mutanabbi and al-Hariri. Words, and especially poems, have always been the great Arab cultural product. But how to communicate them to those who don’t know Arabic? Poetry in particular seems to defy translation. And yet we must try. Book here.

January 20

Librarians and Archivists for Palestine (LAP) is hosting an online discussion of Mornings in Jenin, using #lap1book, in English on Twitter on January 20, 9-10pm Eastern Standard Time.

January 21

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange: Robert Irwin in conversation with Marina Warner (London, England)

Set to begin at 7 p.m. at the London Review Bookshop. More here.

Townhouse Salon with Palestinian Poet Jehan Bseiso (Cairo, Egypt)

The event is titled “How to tame a wild tongue? A Conversation with Palestinian Poet Jehan Bseiso after Gloria Anzaldua.”

The January Salon will be led in English by Palestinian poet Jehan Bseiso, whose poetry engages with themes of memory, identity, and resistance. Bseiso will perform a selection of her work, then devoting the conversation to the role of the artist as witness and the use of memory and language in poetry. The Salon will be foregrounded by cultural theorist and writer Gloria Anzaldua’s powerful writing on the concept of borderlands, and how our identities are necessarily complex, beyond the black and white formulations of power.

The texts up for discussion are downloadable here. Open to everyone! (More here.)

Saturday, Jan 24

“Ibn Battuta” By Tim Mackintosh-Smith (Dubai, UAE)

Tim will present two talks in English & Arabic
If you think of Ibn Battuta only as the long-dead writer of a book or the theme of a mall, then Tim will broaden your mind. Following the great traveller to the edges of his world, Tim experiences with him – and now with you – a terrifying death in India, a demon in the Maldives, and a bath in Spain. This is living history at its most direct; perhaps it is the nearest thing to time travel. Book here.

January 26

Travel Writing Workshop with acclaimed travel-writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith (Dubai, UAE)

Tim passes on tips for all would-be travel writers, whether you’re penning 1,000 words on what to see in your home town or composing your own personal Odyssey. We will look at some of the greats of travel literature, and some of the tricks of the travel journalism trade. We will also go on a field trip, so bring a pencil and your five senses, all suitably sharpened. Book here. Continues through the 28th.

January 28

Opening Day of the Cairo International Book Fair (Cairo, Egypt)

Set to run through the 2nd of February. More here.

January 29

Dunya Mikhail reads as part of the Midwest Poets Series (Kansas City, USA)

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Mabee Theatre in Sedgwick Hall on the Rockhurst University Campus, Kansas City, Missouri. More information.

Cairo International Book Fair’s First Ever Professional Program (Cairo, Egypt)

On the grounds of the book fair and around the city, from January 29-31. More here.

January 31

“Arabic, the Pain and the Pleasure” (Dubai, UAE)

Arabic must be one of the world’s most challenging languages; Classical Arabic is challenging even for Arabs. But Arabic is also astonishingly beautiful and fulfilling. Come and listen to one learner’s experiences with it (and yes, he is still learning after more than a third of a century). And if you’re learning too, share your own pain and pleasure with the rest of us. Book here.