"It’s difficult for me to predict the destiny of Arabic creative writing, but I think that we have to listen more to reality than we used to, but without being slaves to it, and without being mechanical reflections of reality."
Ibrahim Aslan recently released a new book, Hugratan wa Salah (Two Rooms and a Hall) and turned 75. To mark these occasions---as well as the release of a reputedly bad film version of Aslan's The Heron---Al Ahram interviewed the great Egyptian genre-crosser about his motives, methods, and his regrets. Although Aslan arrived on the literary … Continue reading Ibrahim Aslan on His Regrets: ‘I Was A Little Too Afraid of Writing’
On The Electronic Intifada, Dina Omar has a very interesting interview this week with poet-novelist Sinaan Antoon. Antoon talks about his first novel I'jaam, which is not linear. He says: In poetry, what I love is the ability to fuse the tenses and various modes of time in one sentence. But it's something that I … Continue reading Sinaan Antoon on Linearity in Fiction and the Role of the Writer
I had just finished I Saw Ramallah, which was published in English in 2000 by AUC Press. I have no excuse for being 10 years late to this beautiful book, and am reading it now because of translator Ahdaf Souief's upcoming visit to Cairo, as part of the AUC's "in translation" series. I will have … Continue reading Mourid Barghouti on Writing as Displacement
John Lingan has a good point in "Everybody's Got Advice", posted over at The Constant Conversation. When writers give advice, they have in mind their own process, their own product, their own (sometimes narrow) tastes. Ultimately, perhaps the only thing you can get from this sort of how-to is the advice-giver's literary values. So forgive … Continue reading Elias Khoury (Brilliantly) on Writing
Egyptian novelist Alaa el-Deeb wrote a column called Assir Al-Kutub (Books' Nectar) for some 40 years. Now 70, El-Deeb tells Al Ahram Weekly he does not feel he has accomplished enough. He is the author of Zahr Al-Laymoun (Lemon Flowers, 1978), which Al Ahram calls "one of the most remarkable novellas in the history of … Continue reading Alaa el-Deeb on Writing