When I saw that Fadi Azzam’s Sarmada, trans. Adam Talib, had been reviewed recently in The National (“Heady stuff, but not for everyone“), I thought: Hunh. How did this book get so many reviews in the English-language press? Well, perhaps… Read More ›
Jadaliyya‘s culture section has suddenly burst back into flower this new year, with work by three different poets, two novel excerpts, and a short story. NOVEL EXCERPTS A short excerpt of Kamel Riahi’s al-Ghurila (The Gorilla) has been translated here… Read More ›
Recent Interviews: Al-Tahawy on Childhood, al-Jallawi on Bahrain & Fadi Azzam on Writing Sex Scenes and Serving the Revolution
This week’s “Making the Life of a Modern Nomad Into Literature,” published in the New York Times, profiles Egyptian author Miral al-Tahawy. It discusses — among other things — her very brief time as part of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s… Read More ›
In February and March of 2012, London’s Mosaic Rooms will be hosting an exhibition of Adonis’s drawings as well as four literary events celebrating the celebrated Syrian writer’s poetry and criticism. The Dec. 20 news release, which calls Adonis a… Read More ›
Poet, essayist, and playwright Muhammad al-Maghut—called one of the revolutionaries of the (Arabic) free verse movement—was born in 1934 in Salamiya, Syria. According to Robin Yassin-Kassab over at Qunfuz, “Al-Maghut was locked up on several occasions for SSNP [Syrian Social… Read More ›
I’m as yet only half-way through Sarmada, but yalla, we’ll never get through the longlist by Dec. 7 at this snail’s pace. The shortlist was originally scheduled to be announced in Cairo on the 7th, although I imagine the location… Read More ›
The folks at Jadaliyya are (finally) back at the culture wheel with new, fresh-from-the-streets work from Egyptian Beirut39ers Hamdy al-Gazzar and Mansoura Ez Eldin, poetry from acclaimed Moroccan writer Mohamed Khair-Eddin, and an excerpt from Syrian Faraj Bayraqdar‘s 2011 memoir,… Read More ›
Beirut39-winning novelist Samar Yazbek was detained and beaten. Syrian songwriter Ibrahim al-Qashoush, author of a popular anti-regime song, was murdered, his vocal cords apparently ripped from his throat. And now political cartoonist Ali Farzat, Damascus’s “Pen of Steel,” has had his head, arms, and hands severely beaten.
Syria’s writers are not particularly well known to international audiences—with a few exceptions, such as Adonis and Salwa al-Neimi—but many are celebrated in the Arabic-reading multiverse. The list that follows highlights only a few, with an emphasis on those available in English translation.
Yes, you must read Haidar Haidar, Ghada Samman (a new edition of her Beirut Nightmares was recently released), Hanna Mina, Fawwaz Haddad, Zakaria Tamer, Khaled Khalifa, and many other Syrian writers over 41. More on them tomorrow.
I heard today that Syrian poet and blogger Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari was arrested last night, or at least seized by young armed men assumed to be security services.
That’s what Publishing Perspectives asked yesterday: Can books change the reputation of a nation? Can their “soft power” shift international perceptions of a nation?