September 2015 Arab and Arabic Literary Events Calendar

Arab and Arabic literary events in some sort of translation:

August 30

“The Other Sides Of Morocco:  Chapter#8” (Casablanca, Morocco)

Storytelling, art, and music. More here.

“Invasion!” by Jonas Hassan-Khemiri (NYC, NY)

Invasion! will be performed August 30-September 10 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue in New York, NY. For more information and to buy tickets online, visit

September 3

The Novel Project: “In Memoriam: Assia Djebar (1936-2015).” (Durham, USA)

Franklin Humanities Institute, The Garage Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, 3:15-7:00 pm. More here.

September 5

National Book Festival (Washington, DC, USA)

Including a reading by Arab-American poet, novelist, and children’s-book writer Naomi Shihab Nye. More here.

September 9

Kamel Daoud, Lena Merhej, Mohammed Shennawy at Festivalletterature Mantova (Mantova, Italy)

From Editoriaraba:

Lo scrittore e giornalista algerino Kamel Daoud, la disegnatrice libanese Lena Mehrej e il disegnatore egiziano Mohammed Shennawy saranno ospiti del prossimo Festivaletteratura, che si terrà a Mantova dal 9 al 13 settembre. More here.

September 14

Tahweel (Transformations): Conversations on Beirut Theatre (NYC, USA)

From organizers:

Sahar Assaf, a director, activist and theatre professor at AUB; Nada Saab, a translator and professor of Arabic literature at LAU; Sany Abdul Baki, a classically trained actor, activist and drama instructor at LAU; Raffi Feghali, an activist, actor, sound designer and percussionist; and Robert Myers, a playwright and translator whose works focus on political issues and a professor at AUB, will discuss the contemporary Beirut theatre scene, especially the recently established Tahweel Ensemble Theatre. More here.

Brooklyn Book Festival Opens (NYC, USA)

Including Mona Eltahawy and translation events. More here.

Arabic Book Group (Boulder, Colorado)

Monthly meeting of the Arabic book group at 6 p.m. More here.

September 15

Shifting Traditions and Interchangeable Selves: Autobiography in the Mediterranean (NYC, USA)

From organizers:

Often scholars of comparative literature and those who work on a national literary tradition engage in parallel readings of works whose authors are connected by their common language, nation or metropolitan center. This comparative work, albeit its merits, preserves the reading of literature within a canonical framework while sidelining works that may not necessarily partake in these common denominators. ThroughL’Amour, La Fantasia by Assia Djebar (Algeria) and Afentis Batistas and Other Things by Costas Montis (Cyprus) Hadjipolycarpou demonstrates that texts partake in multiple traditions simultaneously. More here.

September 16

Launch of Creative Refuge (London, England)

From the Mosaic Rooms:

The Mosaic Rooms are pleased to present the book launch of Creative Refuge, a publication documenting art-based research workshops run by Febrik in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Febrik’s Reem Charif and Mohamad Hafeda will discuss their experiences in running projects carried out in Beit Atfal Assomoud (BAA) and Burj al-Barajneh camps in three consecutive workshops in 2003, 2004 and 2005 which provided the premise for the publication.

More here.

September 23

Interludes poétiques de Palestine#3 (Paris, France)

From organizers:

Les cinq auteurs invités cette année, Ghassan Zaqtan, Raja’ Ghanim, Ashraf Zaghal, Fady Joudah et Jihad Hudaib dialogueront avec les comédiens français et la musique dans une harmonie visuelle mettant à l’honneur la poésie. More here.

An Evening with Zakaria Tamer (London, England)

The great Syrian short story writer in conversation with Paul Blezard and Mohamed-Salah Omri, as well as readings from some of the 29 new translations in Banipal 53. More here.

September 24

The Launch of Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi’s ‘He Tells Tales of Meroe (London, England)

A free event, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Petrie Museum. From organizers:

Join us to celebrate the launch of He Tells Tales of Meroe: Poems for the Petrie Museum, a new book of poems by Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi inspired by the Petrie Museum’s collection of material from Meroë in Sudan. The poems were created while Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi was poet in residence at the museum, thanks to a partnership with the Poetry Translation Centre and funding from Arts Council England.

The book, with poems in Arabic translated by Sarah Maguire and Rashid Elsheikh, also includes evocative photographs of the Petrie’s Sudanese collections by Crispin Hughes. Readings of the poems by Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and Sarah Maguire will take place on the night.

He Tells Tales of Meroe: Poems for the Petrie Museum will be on sale for £10 on the night.

Opening of the Göteborg Book Fair (Göteborg, Sweden)

Featuring Hassan Blasim, among others. Runs through the 27th. More here.

September 25

Writing the War between Ambivalence and Loss: Arabic and Persian Literatures after the Iran-Iraq War (NYC, USA)

From organizers:

This talk treats the use of modernist literary aesthetics in writing about the Iran-Iraq War in the early postwar period in Iran and Iraq (1988-2003). More here.

September 26

100 Thousand Poets for Change (Worldwide)

Events held across the world. More here.

The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria. A Conversation with Samar Yazbek and Andrew Hussey (Paris, France)

14:30-15:30 REID HALL,; 4 RUE DE CHEVREUSE, 75006 PARIS: In The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria, journalist and award-winning writer Samar Yazbek narrates the transformation of the Syrian revolution from a popular civil uprising, to an armed revolution, and, finally, to a chaotic conflict involving jihadist militia and ISIS. Slipping across the Syrian border through a hole in a fence, she witnesses and lives the horror of the revolution and its descent into the abyss. This afternoon, Yazbek joins Andrew Hussey, Director of the Centre for Post-Colonial Studies at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, for a fascinating discussion about the means by which the number of the Syrian jihadists increased, and how the arrival of foreign jihadists robbed the Syrians of their revolution.

September 27

UR: A Play, Written and Produced by Sulayman Al Bassam (Paris, France)

REID HALL, 4 RUE DE CHEVREUSE, 75006 PARIS. From organizers: “In a Festival first, we are proud to present UR, a workshop of a play written by acclaimed playwright, Sulayman Al Bassam and commissioned by the Festival des Écrivains du Monde. UR is a contemporary response to one of the most ancient texts in the history of writing, The Lamentation for the Destruction of the City of Ur. Taking the form of a contemporary tragedy focused on the figure of Ningal, the city of Ur’s titular Goddess, the play uses elements from the original Sumerian tablet as chorus material. The drama revolves around Ningal, daughter of the Gods, who rebels against her position in the divine pantheon and transforms her city, Ur, into the staging ground and beacon for a social and sexual revolution that pits itself against the religious and military status quo of Sumer. The cost of her transgression is exacted by the Gods three times: first, upon the lands of Ur (environmental catastrophe); second, upon the people of Ur (war); and, finally, upon the body of Ningal. Within the context of the popular uprisings across the Arab World, their subsequent quashing and the emergence of radical organizations such as Islamic State, UR acts as a metaphor for liberty.

Performance in Arabic with subtitles in French and English. Tonight’s program is staged outdoors in the garden of Reid Hall, please wear warm clothes!