Publication Day for ‘Shalash the Iraqi’

It’s publication day for Shalash the Iraqi’s series of posts — essays, short stories, satiric monologues, magical-realist sketches — translated to English by Luke Leafgren nearly twenty years after their first appearance online.

The book’s publisher, And Other Stories, writes:

“The second U.S. invasion of Iraq began in the spring of 2003. By the autumn of 2005, though the Saddam Hussein regime had reached its bloody end, ordinary Iraqis were seeing little improvement in their daily lives. In the midst of this turmoil, a hero arose – or, rather, a jester. In a country where electricity was only intermittently available, a series of blog posts began to appear at a soon-to-be-defunct website and took Baghdad by storm. Individual entries were printed out and passed around for months, until the pages were nearly shredded. Where neither computers nor printers were available, the posts were retold aloud, then passed along at second- and third-hand. What could inspire such devotion? Signed ‘Shalash the Iraqi’, the posts proved to be nothing less than portions of a madcap serial novel thumbing its nose at Iraq’s new normal.

“From drunken monologues to prayers, from poetry to dirty jokes, from fairy tales and folk stories to pratfall humour, this novel delights readers and sheds light on Iraq in equal measure.”

To mark publication day, we have:

A Talk with Shalash, the Explosively Popular Iraqi Satirist

The Book’s Preface, Penned by Shalash and translated by Luke Leafgren

“Looking Back from Iraq,” a Shalash-focused episode of BULAQ

“The Privatization of Da’bul’s Oil,” an excerpt from Shalash originally published in November 2005, translated by Luke Leafgren

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