If there were two disappointments I had while reading the opening chapter of Sinan Antoon’s The Poetics of the Obscene in Premodern Arabic Poetry, “Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf: Genealogies,” they were: 1) that the full book is listed at more than $70, and 2) that there wasn’t a companion historical novel that gives full imaginative license to a re-crafting of Ibn al-Hajjaj and his contemporaries.
A novel where the “days are all much the same, bringing nothing new” is a difficult thing to pull off. And Fahd al-Atiq’s “Life on Hold,” trans. Jonathan Wright, couldn’t be characterized as a page-turner. But the book does manage to craft a compelling narrative about the contradictions of contemporary Riyadh even as the protagonist remains stranded in nowhere-land
The Muscat International Book Fair in Oman, which closes tomorrow and has in the past seen 800,000-some visitors, saw an infrastructural push this year. Meanwhile, the giant Riyadh Book Fair — which sees between one and two million visitors — opened on March 5.
Two Iraqi writers — Sinan Antoon (The Corpse Washer) and Hassan Blasim (The Iraqi Christ) — are joined by Palestinian-Israeli novelist Sayed Kashua, who writes in Hebrew, on this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) 15-book longlist.
‘Yesterday, Moroccan poet Mohammed Bennis was awarded one of two Max Jacob prizes at a ceremony in Paris.
At the time of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) shortlist announcement, ArabLit and 7iber had interviews with four of the five judges. One judge was missing, Mehmet Hakkı Suçin. He graciously followed up with an email interview.
A Bird is not a Stone, ed. Henry Bell and Sarah Irving, is a collection of poems by contemporary Palestinian writers forthcoming from Glasgow’s Freight Books. The translations are done — through the bridge method — by 25 of Scotland’s top poets. Irving talks about the collection, which she suggests is perhaps “freer” for being a bridge translation.
If you’re in Cairo, there are a number of events on an around the seventh anniversary of the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street. If you’re not, a number of them will be videoed and made available online.
Last Monday, translator Zeinab Mobarak gave a lecture on the creative arts of dubbing and subtitling at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Contrary to popular belief, Mobarak said, dubbing for film is a difficult art.
Global events calendar — of Arabic and Arab literary events — for March, 2014.
While she was in Iowa City, participating in the International Writing Program (IWP)’s fall 2013 residency, Yemeni poet and filmmaker Sawsan Al-Areeqe spoke with the program’s “On the Map” series. The video interview was recently released on YouTube.
International Writing Program (IWP)’s “On the Map” series recently released an interview with Egyptian novelist Muhammad Abdelnaby, who talked about the best and worst things about being a writer in Egypt,