Yet Iraqi literature continues, somehow, to blossom. There are older writers Fadhil al-Azzawi and Muhammad Khudayyir still at work (although the former in exile), and much younger ones, too: Thirtysomething Iraqi Hassan Blassim has been called “perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive.”
“First of all, I can’t write poetry in any other language. Impossible. I have to write in Arabic because each language has its own history and Arabic is my history. I consider Arabic to be the most beautiful language.”
Sinan Antoon has a new Boulus translation in today’s Jadaliyya: “The Corpse”. Coming on the heels of the Nobel-lit three-ring circus (who will it be? it should be Adonis! it should be…!), the poem made me reflect on how little-known the towering, excellent Boulus is in English—outside of Banipal readers.
[abbas_khider_falsche_inder] Today, Turkish paper Today’s Zaman features Germanophone Iraqi author Abbas Khider, who was honored this year as a runner-up for Germany’s Adelbert von Chammisso Award. According to the award website, the Adelbert von Chammisso is: “open to authors whose mother tongue and cultural background are non-German and whose works make an important contribution to German literature.”
NEA translation grants were announced yesterday ($300,000 worth) and I was pleased to see the stories of Luay Hamza Abbas on the to-be-translated list. I talked about his stories in May after two of them appeared in Banipal 37.
This morning, the computers at Amazon.Com kindly alerted me (as someone who raved about Sonallah Ibrahim’s Stealth) that Egyptian author Radwa Ashour has a new book out in English this month: Specters. Translated by Barbara Romaine—who did a lovely version… Read More ›
An Associated Press piece, about the relationship between Iraqi art (mostly visual) and the U.S.-led occupation, has been circulating through world newspapers. (You’ve surely already read it; I’m still traveling and behind.) I was particularly interested in the snippet about… Read More ›
I missed this in last week’s Al Ahram Weekly, but I suppose it wasn’t “timely” in any case: these are memories of a Palestinian who died in 1994 and whose Baghdad home was destroyed in April 2010. The news of… Read More ›
Since Robin Yassin-Kassab declared in the Guardian that Hassan Blasim is “perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive,” it’s been needling me. Surely, Blasim is an excellent writer. Yes, I think there are more mature writers of Arabic fiction… Read More ›
Hassan Blasim’s debut short story collection, The Madman of Freedom Square, directs the reader’s gaze toward the violence of recent Iraqi experience: neighbors turning in neighbors, street cleaners collecting body parts, refugees in flight. But it also points toward itself,… Read More ›
Above is the beautiful cover of Sinan Antoon‘s new novel The Pomegranate Alone, designed by Mohammad Al-Shammarey. The book should be out in the next two weeks from al-Mu’assassa ‘l-`Arabiyya in Beirut. I hope the English translation gets the same… Read More ›