Looking at the Longlist: Sinan Antoon on Writing ‘Ave Maria’

Sinan Antoon’s (@sinanantoon) third novel, Ave Maria (2012) has been longlisted for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).  It followed quickly on the heels of his previous novel, The Pomegranate Alone, which is forthcoming in English in 2013 from Yale University Press. Antoon, born in 1967 in Baghdad, is a poet, translator, novelist, academic, and filmmaker. He has … Continue reading Looking at the Longlist: Sinan Antoon on Writing ‘Ave Maria’

Sinan Antoon’s New Novel Available ‘in the Next 2 Weeks’

Above is the beautiful cover of Sinan Antoon‘s new novel The Pomegranate Alone, designed by Mohammad Al-Shammarey. The book should be out in the next two weeks from al-Mu’assassa ‘l-`Arabiyya in Beirut. I hope the English translation gets the same cover. Antoon is a poet, translator, and the acclaimed author of I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody. … Continue reading Sinan Antoon’s New Novel Available ‘in the Next 2 Weeks’

Antoon: Five Could’ve Been Fifty, Youssef: Fifty(-Nine) It Is!

Sinan Antoon responded to my book request just after I’d posted the list for Take the Arabic Lit Summer Reading Challenge, and Win. If you don’t know who Antoon is, for goodness sakes! His I’jaam was one of Katrina Weber’s choices. He said, “So here are my five. But it could’ve been fifty of course: … Continue reading Antoon: Five Could’ve Been Fifty, Youssef: Fifty(-Nine) It Is!

Sinaan Antoon on Why Writers Should Translate

استفدت كثيراً من ترجمة الشعر التي أمارسها منذ سنوات. I have benefited greatly from the translation of poetry…. فهي أهم تمرين، برأيي، بعد الكتابة نفسها لأنّك تواجه تحديّات العثور على المفردة الملائمة ونقل صور وتعابير من حيّز إلى آخر. It’s the most important exercise, in my opinion, after writing itself, as here you face the … Continue reading Sinaan Antoon on Why Writers Should Translate

On Ibn al-Hajjaj, Whose Poems Schoolboys Were Beaten for Memorizing

If there were two disappointments I had while reading the opening chapter of Sinan Antoon’s The Poetics of the Obscene in Premodern Arabic Poetry, “Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf: Genealogies,” they were: 1) that the full book is listed at more than $70, and 2) that there wasn’t a companion historical novel that gives full imaginative license to a re-crafting of Ibn al-Hajjaj and his contemporaries.