This episode of Bulaq looks at the Fall 2020 issue of ArabLit Quarterly, with its focus on cats: in contemporary Arabic stories, in erotic poetry, in medieval scholarship, in Egyptian art, in Palestinian politics, and more:

We read from:

Ghada Samman’s “Beheading the Cat,” translated by Issa Boullata.

The poetry of Rasha Omran, in the issue in Arabic, French, and English.

Al-Jawbari’s advice on avoiding criminals with cats, translated for the issue by Dima El-Mouallem.

We also focus on:

Karim Zidan’s essay on cats in Egyptian art, “Felines, Fellahin, and Fortune Tellers.”

Hoda Marmar’s essay-interview with Muna Nasrallah, the daughter of Emily Nasrallah and previous owner of the cat from Nasrallah’s classic YA novel, What Happened to Zeeko?

The fifteenth-century encyclopedic text “Merits of the Housecat,” translated by David Larsen.

Layla Baalbaki’s classic story “The Cat,” translated by Tom Abi Samra.

Listen at or any of your preferred podcast apps.

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