The Egyptian colloquial poet Ahmad Fouad Negm died Tuesday morning at the age of 84, just before he was to travel to receive the 2013 Prince Claus Award for “Unwavering Integrity.”
Over at The Arabist, Industry Arabic has translated one of the absurd recent characterizations of an “activist” from Youm 7. Herein, the effeminate “male activist” reputedly is not a poetry-lover (although he likes to curse and use obscene expressions), but the manned-up “female activist” likes the “lewd poetry” of Fouad Haggag and Naguib Sorour.
Last week at Cairo’s Goethe Institute, three German and three Egyptian writers came together to discuss the writing process, its politics, and how to (not) make a living as an author.
If you’re in Chicago tomorrow, you can join translators Kay Heikkinen and Cameron Cross, academic Michael Sells, as well as novelist Gamal al-Ghitani, for discussions of the transmogrification of classical Arabic literature into modern Arabic fiction — as well as the shape-shifting of this literature from Arabic to other languages.
There’s a new Cairo books blog, recently launched by AUC Middle East Studies librarian Mark Muehlhaeusler, called Cairo Booklore.
Eslam Mosbah’s “إيموز”, trans. Raphael Cohen and published by AUC Press as Status: Emo (2013), has a wild, end-of-days atmosphere. Something is rotten in the State of Egypt, and change must be on the horizon.
Adam Talib recently gave a talk at the American University in Cairo on “Translating for Bigots.” Talib, who is working on his fourth literary translation, looked at a number of reasons why a reader might look at Arabic literature (in translation) with less sophistication than he’d look at English literature.
A seminar and a festival — in Dubai and in Cairo — are celebrating the life of “the Dean of Arabic Literature,” Taha Hussein. The great author died forty years ago yesterday.
Translators are often expected to remain invisible puppeteers, unseen by all except specialists and those good at squinting. The translator who stays in the background is praised: The reader, we’re told, wants to connect with Elias Khoury, not Humphrey Davies; Jurji Zaydan, not Samah Selim. But there are moments when translators feel they must be heard.
Novelist Muhammad Aladdin — one Akhbar Al-Adab’s “Writers of the New Millennium” and of the Millions’ “Six Egyptian Writers You Don’t Know But You Should” — answered a few questions about the relationship between the State and the Writer soon after one of the guiding lights of Egyptian literature, publisher Mohammed Hashem, announced that he intends to leave Egypt.
In May, author Karam Saber was sentenced — in absentia — to five years in prison for alleged defamation of religion in his short-story collection أين الله (Where is God). Following protests from at least 46 Arab human-rights organizations, the case appeared again in mid-September, but was deferred until an October 22 hearing.
The video began circulating on Wednesday: A talk by novelist Alaa al-Aswany at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris was suddenly derailed by chanting protestors getting up on chairs, shouting, breaking glass.