5 More #WiTMonth Reads from Lebanon’s Feminist Library

Last year, the Knowledge Workshop introduced themselves to ArabLit readers and suggested five reads for your Women in Translation Month (#WiTMonth) from their shelves, either in translation or translations-to-be:

Special from The Knowledge Workshop

This year, for #WiTMonth 2019, we are back to update the ArabLit community on what we have been up to and to recommend five books that are new to our library.

Established in 2015, the Knowledge Workshop is a space of feminist organizing in Lebanon. It is also a place where you can read, study, and borrow books from our public Feminist Library. The Feminist Library has a very wide and ever-growing collection of books in different genres and languages (mainly Arabic and English, but also some French) and for different age groups. This is a space where you can find comic books, including feminist comics, books on feminist theories, literature, memoirs, and children’s books, and where you can have really interesting conversations with other library goers.

This year we have started a #LibraryMembersRecommend series, with members of the Feminist Library recommending books they are reading. We also took part in the #BookCoverChallenge. We held a few interesting book circles, where people came in with whatever books they are reading, and we found a way to have great conversations. We organized a training on podcasts. We have a call issued for feminist graphic stories on love and relationships to be published in the second issue of Shakmagiya. So it has been a very busy year for KW and the Feminist Library.

Last year, we presented our top 5 picks of books by women in Arabic that you can find at KW. This year, we have updated the list with five of our recent arrivals at KW.

  • عدنية شبلي، تفصيل ثانوي

This novel by Palestinian author Adania Shibli starts with the daily routine of an occupying Israeli battalion in the Naqab desert in 1949, where a soldier rapes a Palestinian girl.  The story then moves in time to a young woman journalist decades later, who reads a vague reference to the story, and goes searching for what has happened, taking her friend’s ID, and narrating in the process the lives of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

Editor’s note: This is forthcoming in translation by Elisabeth Jaquette.

  • جوخة الحارثي، سيدات القمر (Celestial Bodies, by Jokha al-Harthi, trans. Marilyn Booth)

We are happy to let people know that this book, whose author and translator have recently won the Man Booker International Prize, is now on our shelves. The novel draws on the lives of residents of an Omani village through focusing on the experiences of three sisters.

  • اميلي نصرالله، المكان

The design and production by Dar Onboz is very clear on the presentation of this book, which opens with a handwritten dedication from Nasrallah to her grandmother Regina, and where family photos, maps, timelines and letters are part of the stories. The stories here are of Nasrallah’s family, her village, the emigrations and the returns. In one family story she recounts, Nasrallah discovers a letter by her maternal uncle who boarded the Titanic from Beirut to New York in 1912, and then heard the news that the ship sank near Canada. If you are a fan of Nasrallah’s work, you will love this posthumous offering.

  • رجاء نعمة، شيطان في نيو قرطاج

The year is 2065, in an ideal city that has broken from the histories of its people, where experts and artists have come from around the world, abandoning their past and their old names, to build this city of the future, with new names and new possibilities. So why is Elissar so restless? And what will the forsaken memories of the people of New Carthage lead towards?

  • (ماري مونيك روبين، العالم حسب مونسانتو او فضيحة البذور المعدلة جينيًا (تر. سناء خوري

We wanted to put on the list a different genre of books available at our library, and we recommend this investigative work, where Robin presents her research into the practices of multinational corporation, Monsanto. From producing herbicides to genetically modified products, monopolizing the market with its products while falsifying reports of the harm they cause, Robin interviews scientists, lawyers, and activists, among others, and shows how agencies that are supposed to protect citizens or to monitor harmful effects of products are often corroborating with the corporations instead.

If there are books you want to ask us about, you can check our database here, drop us an email, or drop by the library if you happen to be around.

The Feminist Library is just one of the Knowledge Workshop’s projects— other projects include a Feminist School and the Storytellers Project, a women’s oral history project. To learn more about us, visit our website, facebook page, or twitter page.

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