Popular Saudi writer Turki al-Hamad has been released after five months in detention. Al-Hamad, like Saudi poet Hamza Kashgari, was detained for a series of tweets.
Mostly enthusiastic stories and tweets marked the opening day of the Riyadh International Book Fair: The fair opened at 10 a.m. yesterday, with the country’s Committee for the Prevention of Vice & Promotion of Virtue (PVPV) police apparently sidelined, although… Read More ›
This past Sunday, the general assembly of the Arab Publishers Association met Sunday at the Cairo International Book Fair to elect a new president (Essam Shalaby) and address other issues: Among these came a unanimous decision to boycott the Riyadh International… Read More ›
Yesterday in Saudi Arabia, best-selling novelist Turki al-Hamad, one of the KSA’s most well-known writers, was arrested for remarks he posted on Twitter. The tweets in question — about a dozen of them, published on Dec. 22 — criticize religion. These two… Read More ›
Mohammed Hassan Alwan, a former “Beirut39” laureate, is one of the young writers (born 1979) on the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction Longlist. He made the rolls this year for The Beaver, his fourth novel, and is the only Saudi… Read More ›
Some say the most vibrant discussions are online. However: 1) Ahmad wouldn’t give his name in the article, and 2) Hamza Kashgari is now in solitary confinement in a Riyadh prison for free discussion of ideas on Twitter.
The Riyadh International Book Fair continues to be a cultural clash point in the KSA. It’s one of the few times and places where Saudis and foreigners, men and women and books can mix (sort of) freely. This has made… Read More ›
By Zuberino, Guest Author Yesterday afternoon, London played host to the winners of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (popularly known as the “Arabic Booker”): Morocco’s Mohammed Achaari and the Saudi author Raja Alem. Their first ever joint reading… Read More ›
His response sums up as: Book World Prague was right to honour Saudi Arabia
Yes, the furor (here, here, here, and here) over Saudi Arabia’s “guest of honor” status at the 2011 Prague book fair is justified. No country should be “guest of honor” at a book fair if they’re not prepared to bring along their…books.
Frankly, I am not equipped to explain the thinking behind the KSA’s (many) laws. But I can say that the English-language term “book club” is not sufficient to express what Saudi authorities mean to control and repress with a new set of culture-strangling bylaws.
Anglos have long been charged by a belief in Arab (hyper)sexuality. As Edward Said nods at in his pioneering Orientalism, this is in large part because of Anglo (hyper)reserve about s-e-x. Indeed, we might just as well talk about why Anglo writers can’t properly describe sex in their novels, and what they might learn from Saudi women.