The Beit Touyour Ayloul Foundation recently opened its doors in Lebanese author Emily Nasrallah’s (1931-2018) home town. The foundation, along with Nasrallah’s recently published memoir, stand as living memories of a pioneering feminist, humanist author:
By Olivia Snaije
The Lebanese author Emily Nasrallah, who passed away in March 2018, saw the printed copy of her memoirs just days before she died. Published by the independent Dar Onboz rather than her regular publisher, Hachette/Antoine Naufal, the result is a brilliantly designed autobiographical journey that takes the reader from the late 19th century to the mid 20th, introducing us to the cast of characters present in Nasrallah’s life and in the history of her village of Kfeir, or Al Makan (The Place).
Dar Onboz describes the work as an homage “to her maternal lineage and ancestors who marked her life with love, pain, knowledge and education. It represents an expression which stems deep from within Emily’s core memories. It is from that Place that she witnessed her family members migrate generation after generation.”
Al Makan includes photographs, infographics, maps and a separate small, beautifully illustrated lexicon which explains vocabulary used in the memoir that refer to a bygone way of life.
Dar Onboz also shot a short video of Emily Nasrallah holding her memoirs, posted below.
For those wishing to find out more about Nasrallah’s personal history, and also the history of a small village in southern Lebanon, Al Makan is a perfect source, albeit only in Arabic for the moment. Nasrallah also donated her archives to the University of St. Joseph, including unpublished manuscripts.
Olivia Snaije is a journalist and editor based in Paris who writes about translation, literature, graphic novels, the Middle East, and multiculturalism.