Syria and Lebanon are the guests of honor at this weekend’s Tolouse literary festial Marathon des mots, with guests that include Amin Maalouf, Najwa Barakat, Rosa Yassin Hassan, and Farouk Mardam-Bey. Meanwhile, Samar Yazbek will be in London for a talk to the FrontLine Club that will be streamed live:
The “Marathon of Words” is held on the last weekend of each June in France’s southwestern city of Toulouse and its surroundings. As Olivia Snaije reported in Publishing Perspectives, writers from Buenos Aires were the guests of honor in 2013, and last year Istanbul-Taksim was the focus, “in support of the anti-government protests held in Taksim square.”
In addition to authors who will be at the festival, work by luminaries like Hoda Barakat, Jabbour Douaihy, and Rabee Jaber will be performed.
According to PP, Mardam-Bey was spoke with Le Monde about whether the war literature is emerging from Syria is similar to what shook up the Lebanese literary scene. Snaije translates:
Undoubtedly. War freed Lebanese literature — whether in Arabic or French — from the clichés it had been tied to — that Lebanon had been a land of plenty, a model of friendly communities…War showed the more sordid aspects of society — which exist all over the world. The literature had to evoke the horrors that had been experienced. There is nothing worse than a civil war. In Syria there is something harsher going on, something even more destructive. I think it will add a tragic dimension — in the strongest sense of the word — to Syrian literature.
Meanwhile, Syrian novelist and memoirist Samar Yazbek will speak at the Frontline Club July 1 as her book The Crossing comes available. The Crossing, trans. Nashwa Gowanlock and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, is a follow-up to Yazbek’s powerful A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution, trans. Max Weiss.
To watch Yazbek’s event: