These are letters without addresses. Instead, they’re just titled: “To my father,” “To my brother,” “To my sweet mother,” or “To my dear… because that’s how the letters should begin.”
“My family put so much pressure on me that I really had to fight and then fight again to go to university. It was unheard of for a girl to leave the village.”
“Long ago, in a former age and a bygone time, there was a king who wished to test the loyalty of his people.”
The quiet, firm Lebanese feminist author and activist Emily Nasrallah (1931-2018) — celebrated for her debut novel Birds of September — has died.
“The three final finalists are set to be announced in early March 2018.”
“I think the corner stone of a good academic experience is the public lecture. Through the public lecture, the university asserts curiosity as the most essential feature of learning. When I was a student, the public lectures I attended were the key that opened the world for me, and I hope Tarjamat will open translation as a problematic for a much larger community than specialist interest in the field.”
In his second novel, Youssef’s Disappointment خيبة يوسف (Dar Al-Adab, 2017), Fawzi Zabyan uses a story of two friends to shine a spotlight on political parties in Lebanon.
“Shajar al-Dur was the wife of a 13th century Ayyubid sultan based in Cairo. When he died unexpectedly, she pretended he was still alive, presided over the defeat of the 7th Crusade, and then had herself named Sultana. But no Top 10 singles, sadly.”
“The further I got into the process of translating, the more important it began to seem that my text be able to do the work of topography — the writing of place — needed to make Beirut intelligible as a spatial configuration to Anglophone readers.”
Previous winners of the Khayrallah Prize include Lebanese-Australian playwright David Joseph and Lebanese-American author Joseph Geha.
Jraissati promises: “A novel by one the most interesting emerging voices in Lebanon”; a new novel by Man Booker International finalist Hoda Barakat; novelist by International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted novelists Youssef Fadel, of Morocco, and Najwa Bin Shatwan, of Libya; and a new nonfiction work by PEN Pinter-winning Syrian novelist and activist Samar Yazbek.
As every year, ArabLit revisits.