Ahram Online has a talk with multi-award-winning Iraqi novelist Inaam Kachachi to mark the passing of twenty years since the US occupation of Iraq.
As Ahram Online’s Dina Ezzat notes, “In 2005, only two years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, she issued her first literary volume سواقي القلوب (The Heart Wheels) where she offered a carefully knitted together image of the Iraqi-diaspora that is diverse and tormented. In subsequent 18 years, Kachachi, now a celebrated Iraqi novelist, put out three other novels: الحفيدة الأميركية (The American Granddaughter), طشاري (The Dispersal) and النبيذة (The Outcast).”
Ezzat adds that, in 2022, Kachachi issued a selection of stories: بلاد الطاخ طاخ (In the Lands of Shoot-Outs).
Thus far, two of her novels have been translated in their entirety: The American Granddaughter (by Nariman Youssef) and The Dispersal (Inam Jaber). She also has a wry and lyrical short story, “Nude in Waziriyya of Baghdad,” translated by Rula Baalbaki and published in Arab Women Voice New Realities.
In it, Kachachi speaks — among other things — about the necessity of hope:
I am not even sure that for my generation the hope of a homecoming is still realistically there. However, a novelist cannot be constrained to the limitations of reality; a novelist has to have a hole in the wall to see the light of the day; a novelist needs to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel somehow, because this is the way for the novelist to keep on writing their narratives.
[Pierre] Soulages is a French painter who did his canvas only in black; however, he used different shades of black to inspire from within these very dark shades a lot of brilliant ideas.
Read the whole interview at Ahram Online.
Also read previous interviews:
Inaam Kachachi: ‘What Hurts My People Hurts Me’ (2019, with Mahmoud Hosny)
Inaam Kachachi: ‘We Are Experiencing a True Upsurge in Iraqi Fiction’ (2014, with Al-Mustafa Najjar)
Inaam Kachachi on ‘Tashari’ and the Iraq She Carries With Her (2014, with Max Marin)
Mosul, the city with two springs, translator unnamed
An Excerpt of Inaam Kachachi’s IPAF-shortlisted ‘The Outcast’ (translated by Sawad Hussain)