This weekend, London’s biennial Shubbak Festival will wrap up, with much of its literary programming in the final weekend:
Although Shubbak’s varied events can be difficult to keep track of, as they’re held across the city, the final weekend of literary events are held in one place, at the British Library.
This year, according to the BL’s Daniel Lowe, “we’ve also tried to put more of an emphasis on readings and performances to allow audiences to experience Arab literature rather than just hearing talks about it.”
From Daniel Lowe:
We’re really excited about our collaboration with the Shubbak festival which brings a diverse array of contemporary Arab literature events to the British Library for a second year. This year we’ve also tried to put more of an emphasis on readings and performances to allow audiences to experience Arab literature rather than just hearing talks about it. Last week saw the British Library’s first ever contingent at London Pride, so it is particularly fitting that we’re hosting Shubbak’s first queer event featuring Saleem Haddad, Alexandra Chreiteh and Amhal Khouri who will speak about their work and the emerging queer Arab writing scene. After a great event at the Free Word Centre earlier this week with Basma Abdel Aziz, I’m eagerly anticipating our ‘Waking Nightmare’ panel in which she’ll speak with Mohammad Rabie and Ganzeer about their dystopian writing in relation to post-revolutionary Egypt. Finally, Susan Abulhawa in conversation Gillian Slovo will be a great event focusing on powerful and political engaged writing
The benefit of hosting Shubbak at the British Library isn’t just about bringing in new audiences, but also it provides an opportunity to showcase and develop our collections. This year we have highlighted Arab comics, cartoons and graphic novels in a small display that runs until October. We have also hosted a residency with Syrian writer Rasha Abbas who has been based at the Library for a month to do research for a novel set during the brief Arab Union. Also, working with Alice Guthrie to programme the festival has provided an invaluable insight into the contemporary literary scene which is a great help for making new acquisitions of fiction and poetry to the British Library’s Arabic collections.
You can find the complete rundown of literary events at the Shubbak Festival website.
Before you go, read the special section on Words Without Borders, with work from Shubbak Festival authors.