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International Book Club with ArabLit and Alice Guthrie: Malika Moustadraf’s ‘Something Strange, Like Hunger’

March 29 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Organized by The Translation Exchange in partnership with ArabLit.

This event is open to all, whether or not you have attended one of our book clubs before. No knowledge of the original language is required to take part!

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 29th March at 7pm (GMT), in partnership with specialists in translated Arabic-language fiction ArabLit. We’ll be reading Malika Moustadraf’s Something Strange, Like Hunger, translated from Arabic by Alice Guthrie, who we’re delighted to announce will be joining us for the discussion.

Celebrated by Leïla Slimani as ‘At once tender and cruel, insolent and profound,’ Malika Moustadraf’s writing bridges a range of seeming contradictions. With a style as striking as her subject matter, her linguistic creativity only enhances the visceral effect of her unflinching take on everyday life.

Publishers Saqi Books have kindly offered a discount code to book club participants. Once registered, you will receive this code for use at checkout.

Set reading for discussion:

Blood Feast


Woman: A Djellaba and a Packet of Milk

and the Translator’s Note by Alice Guthrie.

In the weeks leading up to our meeting, we’d love to hear your thoughts while reading the book on social media. There is a Facebook group for the International Book Club, or you can follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #IntBookClub.

About the Book

Malika Moustadraf is a cult feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her uncompromising depiction of life on the margins.

Something Strange, Like Hunger presents Moustadraf’s collected short fiction: haunting, visceral stories by a master of the genre. Here, we tune into Casablanca’s unheard: a sex worker struggling to keep warm on the streets; a housewife flirting with strangers online; a kidney patient, priced-out of treatment, facing the harsh reality of his condition; and a mother scheming to ensure her daughter passes a virginity test. Something Strange, Like Hunger is a sharp provocation to patriarchal power, and a celebration of the life and genius of one of Morocco’s preeminent writers.

About the Author

Malika Moustadraf (1969–2006) was a writer from Casablanca, Morocco, celebrated for her distinctive style and experimental language. An exacting social critic, she wrote unflinchingly about life in the margins and was persecuted for her taboo-busting subject matter. Denied the life-saving treatment she needed, Moustadraf died at thirty-seven of kidney disease, leaving behind a semiautobiographical novel and a collection of short stories. Something Strange, Like Hunger is the first full-length translation of her work into any language.

About the Translator

Alice Guthrie is an independent translator, editor and curator specialising in contemporary Arabic writing. Her work often focuses on subaltern voices, activist art and queerness (winning her the 2019 Jules Chametzky Translation Prize). She programmed the literary strand of London’s Arab arts biennale Shubbak Festival between 2015 and 2019, and has curated queer Arab arts events for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Outburst International Queer Arts Festival and Arts Canteen. Guthrie teaches translation at the University of Exeter and the University of Birmingham.

Source: Saqi Books