Each year, the US State Department, which funds the University of Iowa’s “Between the Lines” program, determines which countries are invited to submit nominees. This year it’s Tunisia.
Tunisian poet and essayist Abdelwahab Meddeb died in Paris on November 5.
A few weeks before the passage of Tunisia’s historic consensus constitution — which happened last night by an overwhelming 200-12 vote — a number of writers and poets communicated their hopes for Tunisia in an open letter to the newly appointed prime minister. The online magazine Tunisia Live translated these hopes and added some from “street poet” Majd Mastoura.
Neila Columbo recently listened to and met with _Z_, the Tunisian political cartoonist who blogs at http://www.debatunisie.com/.
Today and tomorrow, “Cartooning for Peace” will bring together cartoonists from across Tunisia as the country continues to probe its red lines and limits to freedom of expression. This is against the backdrop of the Tunis International Book Fair, which will run through Nov. 3. Chiara Comito wrote about the fair — and the situation of publishing in Tunisia — on her blog, Editoriaraba.
Rapper Weld El 15 has popular, driven, to-the-point style — “Police, magistrates, I’m here to tell you one thing, you dogs / I’ll kill a policeman instead of a sheep / Give me a gun I’ll shoot them.” — That lyric, from his song, “Bolicia Keleb,” has made him the target of arrests, most recently last Thursday.
Or: What’s the line between “political opinion” and over-sharing one’s bigotry?
First, it was Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Obie-winning play, “Invasion!”, in NYC; then it was the Tunisian-Swedish author’s fun, fast-paced novel Montecore, which was longlisted for the 2012 “Best Translated Book Award.” Early in 2013, he was in McSweeney’s 42, the translation issue; now it’s Asymptote, and later this month his play “I Call My Brothers” will be in London.
Poet-translators Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour have recently assembled a new anthology: Poems for the Millennium, Volume Four: The University of California Book of North African Literature (2013).* We exchanged emails with Pierre Joris about how it came together: ArabLit: Although the title is “poems,” you include… Read More ›
International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted novelist Hussein El Wad has not yet responded to ArabLit’s request for an interview. However, Tunisian novelist Kamel Riahi conducted one with the charmingly modest El Wad (here), and it is translated to English by Tunisian Literature… Read More ›
Hussein al-Wad (Houcine El Oued) is the only Tunisian novelist on this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction longlist. Al-Wad has long been a man of letters, but is a relative newcomer to novel-writing. Al-Wad has been primarily known as… Read More ›
In mid-January 2011, “If, One Day, A People Desires…” was my poem of poems. At the moment, Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi’s anthem seemed to encompass all hopes, all movement up and away. It pointed toward a life without chains and a… Read More ›