Time: 11 a.m. EST / 4-5 p.m. BST / 5-6 p.m. CEST
With the innovative projects like the Kayfa Ta (“How To”) series and a number of poets turning to long-form prose, there has been a new wave of Arabic literary nonfiction that weaves together deeply intimate family histories with insights into photography, the nature of silence and sleep, patriarchy, and how familial histories twine together with broader political forces. This panel, “These Literary Truths,” will be moderated by writer and editor Rima Rantisi, co-founder of Rusted Radishes magazine in Beirut. She will be joined by writer Amr Ezzat (Room 304 or How I Hid from My Dear Father for 35 Years, How To Remember Your Dreams), poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer Dunya Mikhail (The Beekeeper of Sinjar), and one of the co-founders of the Kayfa Ta project, artist and curator Maha Maamoun.
Rima Rantisi teaches in the Department of English at the American University of Beirut and is the founding editor of Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal. Her essays can be found in Literary Hub, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Past Ten, and Slag Glass City. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Amr Ezzat is an Egyptian writer. He is the author of Room 304: How I Hid from My Dear Father For 35 Years (2019), published in Arabic by Dar al-Shorouk and in English by the “60 Pages” project, and How to Remember Your Dreams (2020), published in Arabic and English by Kayfa Ta. His blog Ma bada li or What Seems to Me (2005-2011) combined autobiographical writing with political activism and cultural critique, nominated for Deutsche Welle prize for the Best Arabic blog (2008). He was on the editorial board of Al-Bosla (a voice for radical democracy) from 2006-2012, and he has published articles on politics, culture, and art in a number of newspapers and publications, as well as studies and papers on civil rights and religious freedoms with EIPR. In 2021, he won the second prize in the Yahia Haqqi Literary Awards for Room 304.
Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi poet. Many of her collections have been translated into English and achieved wide acclaim (The War Works Hard, Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea, The Iraqi Nights, In Her Feminine Sign), and she also has a novel (The Bird Tattoo), that was shortlisted for the 2021 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Her first work of narrative nonfiction, the lyric The Beekeeper of Sinjar: Rescuing the Kidnapped Women of Iraq (co-translated with Max Weiss), was a finalist for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in its original, and the National Book Award for Translated Literature in its English translation.
Maha Maamoun is an artist, curator and independent publisher based in Cairo. She is a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), an independent non-profit space for art and culture founded in Cairo in 2004. She co-founded with Ala Younis the independent publishing platform Kayfa ta in 2013. Maha is a member of the curatorial team of Forum Expanded (Berlinale), and the Akademie der Künste der Welt, Cologne.