‘When Darkness Falls’: On the Shortened, Brilliant Life of Iraqi Author Hayat Sharara

"The word eib rings in my head, it is eib to love, to sing, to get sick, to divorce, to show your emotions...and.…and. I felt these social chains were burdening me with fear, despair, and confusion, and I almost abandoned work on the book, but when I looked at the materials that I had collected, I knew that if I didn’t publish it now, it would never be published.”

Translator Sampsa Peltonen on Why Hassan Blasim’s ‘God99’ Is Like Parkour

"The arselongness of the text made me think about how the traceurs keep plunging forwards all the time, almost like just past their tipping point, foolhardily hopping over things, dashing and ploughing into walls. Parkour is also often practised in urban places that smell of piss and fast-food and where you need to watch out you don't step on broken glass or used condoms."

The Iraqi ‘Irvine Kafka Poe’

The comparison is both oddly specific and also strangely unhelpful: Blasim is “Iraq’s Irvine Welsh.” Yes, yes, Irvine Welsh is a name I should instantly recognize. But to be honest, I had forgotten why. Irvine, my brain said. Irvine, California? Worse, my brain had linked the name "Irvine Welsh" to novels and screenplays by the American writer Peter Hedges.