She wrote up until the very end -- about her illness, about Baghdad, and about Tunisian politics -- publishing her final post on the popular "A Tunisian Girl" blog Sunday.
Much as in old photo albums, we the undersigned—the Ayoub A.L. family—gradually appear either standing together, or behind one another, or in front, or a little further off. We thought it better to let our mother Makiah sit on a chair, as she can’t stand for long, even if it’s for a photo. Beside her is Auntie Fatihiya, and then the younger auntie, Saneea. Our grandmother Bebe Fatim has no place among us; she stayed upstairs.
"We invite panels, readings, roundtables, and workshops that address the theme “In Between,” broadly conceived, including topics such as: translating from a place of multiple belongings, translating migrant writing, translating code-switching, translating heritage, translating indigenous languages, translating beyond gender binaries, and translating hybrid genres."
"The crowds at the KFAS booth were wild."
In others, the narrator is the child-figure, or, in the case of the wonderfully satiric "Like a Domestic Animal," a house pet: "My demands are basic: / some patting over my head/ and clemency for my horrible daily deeds."
Samatar's story, which plays with a story from the Arabic Tales of the Marvelous and News of the Strange, also pays tribute to al-Sabbagh, "the poet who wrote of the streets."
When invited to write this essay, I wish I had taken the opportunity to tell you why you should read Petra.
"I told my wife, now that we have reached sixty together -- / with myself a bit ahead of her,/ we will be living from now on/ the most wonderful decade of our lives . . ."
The first of the papers, Egypt’s Podcasts and Booktubes: A Literary Criticism of the Future? is up at Maydan, with suggestions for your literary podcast and booktube pleasure.
Also: Attendees can choose to work in one language or to split their time between two languages by attending morning workshops in one language and afternoon workshops in the other.
"So Qays—thanks to his madness—became free not only from the power of the sultan and the tribe, but also—and especially—from the boundaries imposed on him by the transmitters of his story. We still find him stepping out and escaping, over and over."
The talk, titled "Her Own Devices: Language and Craft in the Thousand and One Nights," is introduced by Marina Warner.