Assembly Journal, for their "five books" series, asked me to come up with a list of five Arabic books. The field was too dizzyingly wide. Even when I narrowed my topic to "memoirs and not-quite-memoirs," it was a difficult winnowing process: What about Galal Amin's Nectar of the Years? Well, it hasn't been translated into English, so that's that, I suppose. Sayyid Qutb or Huda Shaarawi's memoirs, for their historical and political importance? Taha Hussein's classic The Days? (But hasn't everyone already read The Days?)
The good thing is, there is something deep in the Egyptian culture that values reading and writing---we need to unearth it. I really rely more on the kids and younger generations; they will be the real drive behind prospect of change.
This year, journalists (and the public) had a chance to question several of the IPAF judges---including chair Fadhil al-Azzawi---at an afternoon press conference in Doha.
Two young Egyptians, a prominent Saudi, a Sudanese writer living in Qatar (where he works as a physician) and both the current Moroccan Minister of Culture and a former holder of the post are on this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction shortlist.
There's a lot in the public domain about our friend Khaled al-Berry, as his memoir of his adolescent years---Life is More Beautiful than Paradise---is available both in Arabic and in English (translated by Humphrey Davies).
As predicted, this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction ("Arabic Booker") longlist has more women than in previous years. This year's longlist is nearly 50-50, with 7 women and 9 men.
This week's major holiday---in your life, I'm sure, as in mine---was International Translation Day! PierenePress did a heroic job of twittercasting live from PEN's translation-day events; I certainly hope they write a few wrap-up thoughts about the discussions on their blog. Meanwhile, the "top 10" suggestions to come out of a discussion of how to … Continue reading Friday Links: International Translation Day Wrap-up, New October Issues, More
Everyone seems to be publishing lists of their must-read, English-language books about football (or soccer, where the lists are American). After all, we English speakers do seem to be terribly fond of lists. Books that are list regulars are Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch and Joe McGinniss' The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. No Arabic books … Continue reading All Right, I Give in, Novels about Football (Soccer)
Last night, author Khaled al-Berry defied World Cup mania and celebrated the launch of his new novel, رقصة شرقية (Middle Eastern Dance) at Kotob Khan in New Ma'adi. The book, which just came out from Dar Al Ain, opens in 1997 as the three male leads are out (separately) buying new underwear. The year, al-Berry … Continue reading My Former Jihadist Friend Signs Copies of His New Epic Novel
CAIRO I think tonight, June 11, I'm going to the signing of Khaled al-Berry's new novel (I have strongly recommended his memoir, Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise). I don't see anything about it on Kotob Khan's website---where the signing is supposed to be?---but if there's no signing, I guess I'll just browse the stacks. … Continue reading Summer (Arabic) Literary Events in Cairo and the U.K.