Bulaq 27: Start Here

Bulaq 27 — co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey and M Lynx Qualey — opens with the question of “Where do I start with Arabic literature?”:

We also talk about the authors shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Algerian literature in translation, book-buying in Tunis, and there is a lengthy detour into the storycraft of Yusuf Idris.

We started by discussing the many opinions about where you should start with Arabic literature. Back in 2010, Ursula’s five-to-read-before-you-die were: Memory for Forgetfulness, Mahmoud Darwish; Season of Migration to the North, Tayyeb Saleh; The Trilogy or Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz; Bleeding of the Stone, Ibrahim al-Koni; Yusuf Idris’s stories in Arabic.

The shortlist for the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, for the first time, features more women writers than men, a fact that has caused some kerfuffles, as well as defensive pieces such as “Every Woman on That Shortlist More Than Deserves to Be There.”

The long list of 100 Algerian books available in English translation, put together by Nadia Ghanem also comes with a 6-book starter kit from Dr. Ghanem and MLQ. Next up are Moroccan and Tunisian literatures in translation.

Listen over at Bulaq, or wherever good podcasts are found.