If there is a single author who should be associated with contemplation of the relationship between humanity and the desert, and the desert and creative writing — post-Ibn Khaldun — it is Libyan novelist Ibrahim al-Koni. He recently spoke with the Louisiana Channel in an interview titled “In the desert we visit death.”
In his latest book, A Rare Blue Bird that Flies with Me — shortlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) — Moroccan writer Youssef Fadel takes the reader on a vividly imaginative odyssey through a dark period in Morocco’s history. Al-Mustafa Najjar talked to the author
Translator Fawaz Azem brings us another poem from young Syrian-Palestinian poet Dima Yousf: “Embrace your cross lovingly and go!”
Land of No Rain is Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser’s first novel, and it arrived in 2010 to wide acclaim, including plaudits from Ahdaf Soueif and Elias Khoury. It’s now been translated by Jonathan Wright — the co-winner of this year’s Banipal translation prize — and will get its English-language launch April 30.
Now in its third year, the Erbil International Literature Festival has been renamed NINITI, after a Sumerian healing goddess, to reflect 2014′s focus on women writers.
I get it: We moderns like lists. The six inhabited continents are messy, big, and multilingual places (yes, even Australia), and we would like the events therein to be curated.
Al-Mustafa Najjar continues with his interviews of authors shortlisted for the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, discussing Inaam Kachachi’s novel Tashari with its author.
Robert Allison is right: The desert is a fertile ground for novelists: “Not only in the otherworldliness of the landscape but also for its capacity to act as an existential sounding board for characters; such vast expanses of emptiness naturally encouraging introspection and reflection.” Yet his list of the “top 10 novels of desert war” focuses oddly on English-language narratives.
Translator Barbara Romaine was unable to make the March 22-23 conference on Radwa Ashour and her writing. She presents her tribute to a novelist of “exceptional humanity” here.
The Best Translated Book Award has announced the 10 finalists for its 2014 Best Translated Book Award (BTBA). Both Lebanese novelist Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg Over Leg, trans. Humphrey Davies, and Moroccan writer Mahi Binebine’s Horses of God, trans. from the French by Lulu Norman, have made the list.
From now through May 9, 2014, the editors and and organizers of the poetry collection A Bird is not a Stone are running a campaign to rise £3,000 to distribute the book more widely and to support bringing Palestinian poets to Scotland and England for a series of readings.
What stands between a book and its Jordanian reader? Why did Susan Abulhawa’s “Mornings in Jenin” fail to satisfy the press and publications law, or Hassan Blasim’s “Madman of Freedom Square”? How does censorship work?