[27 Sep 2017 | No Comment | 32 views]
Antoon’s “The pomegranate alone” wins the Arab World Institute-Lagardere award for Arabic literature – while Khalifa’s “No knives” gets a special mention

The prize for Arabic Literature was created in 2013 by the Foundation Jean-Luc Lagardère and the Arab World Institute in Paris. The 10,000 euros prize rewards one author (national of a state member of the Arab ligue) of a literary work written or translated into French. The prize will be awarded on October 18th in Paris, by former minister of culture Jack Lang during a ceremony that takes place at the Arab World Institute.

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[5 Sep 2017 | No Comment | 21 views]
Shubbak interview with Najwa Bin Shatwan – Being a female author in Libya

Interview conducted by Nahla Al Agli for Shubbak festival’s blog, in July 2017.
An ugly shadow side of Libya’s history is that it was a slave market route for centuries under Ottoman rule, way before the Italian occupation and prior to Libya’s declared independence in 1951. Growing up in Libya, children might still hear stories from elders about the black maids who used to work in their household or about distant cousins in Africa who carry their same recognisable surnames.
There would be no elaboration on the reality of the trade that …

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[4 Sep 2017 | No Comment | 13 views]
Khaled Khalifa: “Living in a void: Life in Damascus after the exodus”

This piece is taken from Refugees Worldwide, an anthology of writing commissioned as part of a project run by the International Literature Festival Berlin. Published in The Guardian on August 22, 2017
My sister, whom I haven’t seen for more than two years, told me she was going to cross the sea in a rubber dinghy. She hung up, not wanting to hear what I thought. She merely said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowned. A few minutes later …

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[4 Sep 2017 | No Comment | 9 views]
Reviews of The Shell, English edition: “Highly recommended”

The Shell, by Moustafa Khalifa, is published in English by Interlink, USA (2017):
“From 1982 to 1994, Syrian topographer Khalifa was incarcerated in his country’s infamous Tadmur Military Prison, and his decision to present his experiences as fiction results in a document both haunting and bold.

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[31 Mar 2017 | No Comment | 39 views]
Sinan Antoon’s Ave Maria is out from Hoopoe! A first review by The National – “A novel of rare brilliance”

The National, March 29, 2017
he Baghdad Eucharist is a short read but one that lingers long in the mind due to its characters’ candid testimonies. Antoon entrances with both his lavish set-pieces and tight thumbnail sketches. Maha’s miscarriage, together with Youssef’s doomed love affair with a Muslim girl 20 years his junior, show suffering of a different kind. Antoon also manages to convey Youssef’s anguish at the felling and burning of Baghdad’s date palms – “so that the Americans can see the snipers and the snipers can see them”.

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