Tunisian Rappers Arrested During Show, Waiting on Charges

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.

Jonas Hassen Khemiri Invading English!

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.

‘Poems for the Millennium 4’: On Choosing Work for a New Maghreb-focused Anthology

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 a broad range of materials. What was your primary criterion: giving a "full view" of … Continue reading ‘Poems for the Millennium 4’: On Choosing Work for a New Maghreb-focused Anthology

IPAF Shortlisted Novelist Hussein El Wad: This Novel Was Published ‘In Gratitude to the Revolution’

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 (in English)'s Ali Znaidi. Riahi noted: Tunisian and Arab universities knew Hussein El Wad as a … Continue reading IPAF Shortlisted Novelist Hussein El Wad: This Novel Was Published ‘In Gratitude to the Revolution’

Looking at the Longlist: A Book Long Kept in Hussein al-Wad’s Drawer

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 an academic, noted for his studies of classical Arabic literature. He arrived on the Arabic … Continue reading Looking at the Longlist: A Book Long Kept in Hussein al-Wad’s Drawer

Play it Again: ‘If, One Day, A People Desires to Live’

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 renewal of language. It also didn't hurt that al-Shabbi was a Tunisian poet, and Tunisians … Continue reading Play it Again: ‘If, One Day, A People Desires to Live’

Sharjah International Book Fair Opens, Tunis Fair Closes

International publishers are meeting in Sharjah again this year, the thirty-first year of its international book fair, although only the fourth in its new guise as one of the world's important trade fairs. The Sharjah fair -- in some ways in competition with the Abu Dhabi fair for the top spot in the UAE -- … Continue reading Sharjah International Book Fair Opens, Tunis Fair Closes