In this episode of Bulaq, the fifty-first, co-hosts Ursula Lindsey and M Lynx Qualey talk about Morocco’s most infamous secret prison.
The prize went to Moroccan writer Youssouf Amine Elalamy for his novel C’est beau, la guerre:
"of footfalls that never return / from the checkpoint / which only sends back bodies;"
"He hummed a favorite tune as he went about his gruesome chore. When he was finished, he arranged the body parts in two garbage bags. Then he cleaned the floor, showered, and put on a change of clothes. He stretched out on the bed, lit a cigarette, and took a deep, delicious, triumphant puff."
ArabLit Editor Nadia Ghanem surveys the twentieth- and twenty-first century Moroccan literature available in English.
"Al-Yūsī’s orientation, and Morocco’s orientation at the time, was toward the south. It’s something that we don’t think about today."
"It’s not quite the same as a purely autobiographical text, but it’s almost more interesting for that. They’re more like mini-essays. I do think that the work, for that reason, can be read by people who aren’t interested in seventeenth-century Morocco."
Among the features is a literary playlist for Youssef Fadel's "Years of Lead" trilogy.
They got nothing except / Seven sheepskins on hard floors / The Sultan’s black and white photograph on blank walls / A guerba of goat skin full of well water / Broken jugs, hay-stuffed rucksack pillows & clay plates
A graphic-novel adaptation of Mohamed Choukri's iconic For Bread Alone -- by Moroccan comics artist Abdelaziz Mouride (1949-2013) is finally coming to print.
In the New York Review of Books, Hisham Aidi writes about Paul Bowles, Tangier, repression, Orientalist distortion, and the persistence of myth.
She was also inspired by Algerian cartoon artist Slim, and the Moroccan author Abdellah Taïa, who writes openly about being gay -- and, of course, the Amazigh queen, Kahina.