His response sums up as: Book World Prague was right to honour Saudi Arabia
Yes, the furor (here, here, here, and here) over Saudi Arabia’s “guest of honor” status at the 2011 Prague book fair is justified. No country should be “guest of honor” at a book fair if they’re not prepared to bring along their…books.
Frankly, I am not equipped to explain the thinking behind the KSA’s (many) laws. But I can say that the English-language term “book club” is not sufficient to express what Saudi authorities mean to control and repress with a new set of culture-strangling bylaws.
Anglos have long been charged by a belief in Arab (hyper)sexuality. As Edward Said nods at in his pioneering Orientalism, this is in large part because of Anglo (hyper)reserve about s-e-x. Indeed, we might just as well talk about why Anglo writers can’t properly describe sex in their novels, and what they might learn from Saudi women.
Friday Links: Why Translations Suffer, PalFest Closes to Blast of Tear Gas, The Marginalization of Libyan Fiction, More
Tim Parks on the Paradoxes of ‘International Literature’ Apparently, Arabic novels are not the only ones that suffer from translators’ poor pay, rushed jobs, and editors looking to fill a niche. Writing in the TLS, Tim Parks echoes what Anthony… Read More ›
The Saudi Gazette reported this week that sales of nonfiction (or “works of an intellectual bent”) beat out fiction at this year’s Riyadh book fair, which ran March 1-11.
Al-Khamees, whose The Leafy Tree was longlisted for the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), said that Saudi women’s participation in literary clubs should be supported with specific membership quotas, according to ArabNews.
In the most recent Qantara, journalist Fakhri Saleh gives the landscape of Saudi literature, arguing that its recent blossoming can be attributed to 9/11. In any case, names you should know:
Hundreds of Arabic language teachers gathered this past Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the Riyadh Ministry of Education building demanding jobs, according to ArabNews. Some protesters apparently were taken to a nearby hospital after suffering… Read More ›
In 2008, the blogger Saudiwoman called Ghazi Al-Gosaibi—who died at the age of 70 in a Riyadh hospital Sunday—“one of the shiniest stars in the Saudi sky.” Well-known for his novels, poems, and his government reforms, al-Gosaibi made waves worldwide…. Read More ›
I that I’m often annoyed by Adonis’ political and literary chatter (I think he might have contracted the Martin Amis disease), so I only glanced sideways at this and this. However, I did notice that one of Adonis’s favorite poetesses… Read More ›
Yesterday, the AFP published a new look at shifts in the Saudi literary landscape. Yes, we know that Saudi novels of the last five years are talking about sex and money in shockingly frank ways. Yes, we know that many… Read More ›