Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (The Cultural Resource) announced this past week the grantees of the 2019 round of the “Production Awards” program, which funds creative projects in music, cinema, literature, visual arts and performance arts:
This year’s juries chose 21 projects out of a reported 371 applications, including four projects in literature and five in the performing arts.
The literature jury was made up of Iraqi poet-translator Hatif Janabi, Mauritanian poet Moubaraka al Baraa, and Yemeni novelist and playwright Wajdi Al Ahdal.
They chose to support a children’s book series from Jordan; a novel about a Sudanese woman whose lover goes to Syria to join ISIS; a Lebanese novel that centers on a company that specializes in romantic revenge; and a historical Palestinian novel focused on the lives of three women.
The four literature projects:
Topsy-Turvy, by Jordanian children’s-book author Ayah Mufid Younis. This is the first book in the “Naizak” series, which begins when a comet strikes earth and changes everything. “The animals, thrown into confusion by their new states and circumstances, try to reach accommodations through some quirky bargaining which gives rise to new relationships and occasions dialogues about needs and options. While some manage to strike deals, others continue the search for solutions to their new situations.”
Disappear, a novel by Sudanese author Talal Muna. In this novel, a novelist is writing the story of a man she’d loved but who disappeared one day, having gone off to Syria to join ISIS. “Writing becomes her only means of resistance.”
Wild Wild Love, by Lebanese author Sanaa Khoury. In this book, a company that hunts mistresses on behalf of wives goes on a “sacred” mission to “save a woman’s marriage.”
Oczepiny, by Palestinian author Nour Owity, focuses on three women in three different times: “Eva, a Polish Jew who married a Christian German clerk at the beginning of the 20th century…Khaya, an Israeli Jew who married a Palestinian man the year before the 1948 crisis…[and] Amina, a Palestinian who was forced into an arranged marriage with a Syrian businessman.”
The theatre projects were judged by Egyptian playwright and director Laila Soliman, Lebanese director Issam You Khaled, and Tunisian director Moez Mrabet, and they selected four plays and a dance performance.
The four plays are Kin of Love, by Syrian playwright-director Rama Haydar; Hide and Seek Laboratory by Lebanese actor-director Roaa Bzeih; Al Hara, by Egyptian director Youstina Samir Moussa; and The Baobab Chronicles by Sudanese playwright Mohanad Haj. You can read more about all the works on the Al Mawred Al Thaqafy website.
Al Mawred Al Thaqafy was founded in 2004, and is a regional, non-profit organization that seeks to “support artistic creativity in the Arab region and to encourage cultural exchange between intellectuals and artists within this region and abroad.”