Waiters would greet him, “Ja’izat Nobel dyalna, our own Nobel laureate,” and set him up at a table with a pot of green tea.
“To be a writer you have to be against the state, firstly,” Fadel insisted. “Against everything—the writer is a demolisher.”
“I must say, I’ve never taught a course on Moroccan literature, until now, because I felt there hasn’t been enough work available. I feel like I’m now ready to start thinking about such a course.”
Court Jesters and Black Mirrors: Translator Alex Elinson on Bringing Moroccan Literature into English
“The words that I fear more than anything when I’m talking to someone in Arabic is, ‘I have a joke.’ They’ll tell the joke, I’ll understand all the words, and I won’t react. Then they’ll tell it again. I’ll understand it, but I still won’t laugh. Humor is a minefield!”
All the longlisted stories will appear in the anthology “ID: New Short Fiction from Africa,” scheduled for release in July 2018.
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.
How lucky they are! They do it in public. They’re shameless—as the saying goes, “Not only God sees them but his servants do too.” They don’t have to worry about a police patrol, or about what people will say.
Whether dystopian or utopian, fictional or fact-based, we would like you to answer the following question “how do you see your the Maghreb in the next 30 years?”
“But also, I honestly do think that he himself, just in the act of publishing with a non-Moroccan publisher…he is reaching for a larger audience. And I don’t mean that in a commercial sense. I think he would like to reach readers beyond Morocco. Frankly, I don’t blame him, when books in Morocco sell in the dozens.”
“Unfortunately, not all the works that deserve to be translated reach this goal, and Arabs have a responsibility in this. Our national cultural institutions don’t make any effort to promote our literature.”
“I prefer…to place the novel into a certain constellation of recent works that are set in imaginary (or semi-imaginary) yet entirely recognizable settings – works such as The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, Otared by Mohammed Rabie, Paul Beatty’s Sellout, Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. “
These two characters—who are both similar and opposite—could be fodder for slapstick. But Fadel plays it differently. The novel’s “comic” sections are discomfortingly tragic, while the tragic scenes are often darkly funny.