Friday Finds: Two by Jan Dost

Jan Dost, author of the acclaimed novel A Green Bus Leaving Aleppohas two works translated to English on the Short Story Project website:

Dost is a Syrian Kurdish poet, writer, and translator who has published work both in Kurdish and in Arabic.  Born in 1965 in Kobanî, Syria, Dost is a recipient of the Galawej Award.

His works include Mijabad, a 2004 novel written in Kurdish; Martînê Bextewer, a 2011 novel written in Kurdish; The Bells of Rome, a 2017 novel written in Arabic; and his most recent, A Green Bus Leaving AleppoHe has also published several collections of poetry.

Among his best-known translations is The Epic of Mem and Zin, written by Kurdish poet Ahmad Khani.

Dost’s short story “A Handful of Dirt,” was made into a short film in Germany, while his “A Burning Dream”
 has been staged as a play in Turkey. No book-length works, nor films or plays adapted from his works, exist, to our knowledge, in English. However, you can read two short stories:

A Pleasant Countenance, tr. Nancy Roberts

It opens:

I don’t know how many hours I’d spent in solitary confinement. I was alone with four cold silent walls. I couldn’t hear anyone’s voice in that gloomy cell, and I don’t think anyone could hear me.

A Handful of Dirt, tr. Adam Talib

It opens:

As soon as he saw his friend, who had just arrived from back home, in the airport arrivals lounge, he asked him, “Did you bring it?”

Get on Jamalon: A Green Bus Leaving Aleppo.