This is the International Women’s Day issue. So, I know, it should be 8s, since this is the 8th. Maybe next year:
SIX POEMS & PROSE EXCERPTS By ARAB WOMEN WRITERS:
Iman Mersal’s “Oranges,” trans. Khaled Mattawa
Maram al-Massri’s “Women Like Me,” trans. Khaled Mattawa
Nujoom al-Ghanem “She Who Resembles Herself,” trans. Khaled al-Masri
Hanan al-Shaykh’s “Beirut 1934,” trans. Roger Allen
Nazik al-Mala’ika “Love Song for Words,” trans. Rebecca Carol Johnson
Adania Shibli’s “Out of Time,” trans. the author
Six profiles of, INTERVIEWS WITH Arab women writers:
Egyptian novelist Salwa Bakr: “Bakr suggested that the lack of political support explains the surge of women seeking to express these contradictions through literature, especially in recent decades.”
Palestinian novelist Sahar Khalifeh: “During all those years in which I played the role of a frustrated housewife, I used to read that letter, look around and wonder, ‘Is this what I expected from life? To cook and wash dishes and wait for a husband who believes that I am here to make up for his mistakes?’”
Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh: “ I remember a professor at one of the American universities and she told me, ‘Oh, Ms. al-Shaykh, I love your work. But I don’t dare to teach it because I don’t want people to think that this is how the Arabs are.’”
Lebanese novelist Hoda Barakat: “I’m never interested about heroes, about men who make history and the characters who believe in something. I don’t have an answer to anything, so when we were on our tour I let the other writers answer the big questions.”
Algerian writer/filmmaker Assia Djebar: “… yes, sometimes fear grips me that these fragile moments of life will fade away. It seems that I write against erasure.”
Six Arab Women Writers (Who Are Interesting) on Twitter
@NouraNoman is an Emirati writer, author of one of Arabic’s first YA sci fi novels, and also blogs at http://no-censorship.blogspot.com/. She tweets about the Arabic language, science fiction, the practice of writing.
@SophiaAlMaria is a Qatari writer, author of The Girl Who Fell to Earth, and tweets about various things, including, “Need a good, amusing name for a Salafi character…quick…” More at http://girlwhofelltoearth.com/.
@suzeeinthecity is a photographer/blogger who tweets about graffiti, among other things. She blogs here, and has a recent one about “women in graffiti,” but I haven’t taken a hair off any of her images, as it threatens those who do with hurt.
SIX Arab Women WRITErs Mentioned for Nobel Prize for Literature:
Etel Adnan, (1925 – ). Adnan, a Lebanese author who continues to be a vibrant force in the literary scene, has written a number of pioneering works. You can certainly see her impact in the recently released Homage to Etel Adnan.
Nawal al-Saadawi, (1931 – ). Al-Saadawi, an Egyptian activist, doctor, and novelist, is a bit improbable as a Nobel Prize for Lit winner, although she is certainly an indomitable political force. Her memoirs are perhaps most interesting (more interesting than her fiction); Memoirs from a Women’s Prison in particular.
Assia Djebar, (1936 – ). Djebar, an Algerian author and filmmaker who writes in French, has been a regular on the Nobel list since her Neustadt award. Works in translation include her Women of Algiers in Their Apartment and Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade.
Hanan al-Shaykh, (1945 – ). Lebanese-British al-Shaykh is author of the brilliant Story of Zahra, Women of Sand and Myrrh, among others; most of her works are available in English, several translated by Catherine Cobham.
Radwa Ashour, (1946 – ). A wide-ranging Egyptian novelist In translation you can find her meta-fictional Specters, as well as Granada and Siraj, and I understand that her celebrated Farag is forthcoming from BQFP.
Huda Barakat, (1952 – ) Also Lebanese, her Tiller of Waters and Stones of Laughter are beautifully layered and textured, like the fabrics in Tiller, with a wonderful exploration of the relationship between humans and the objects of daily life.
Videos: Six Arab Women on Why They Write
Six ONLINE Resources: Finding & REAding More Arab Women Writers
Boston University’s page of Arab Women Writers
Belletrista: women-authored literature from around the world
Banipal’s contributors page
Arab World Writers: Authors’ Pages
Who Has the Power? (Reading Arab Women in English)
Also, commentary on IWD:
Ahram Online: This year we celebrate International Women’s Day: “In celebrating this day for women, we must prepare for the battles ahead – not just the ones that are being fought. We must also remember that the politics of gender are at the heart of the struggle for human rights, dignity and decent livelihoods.”