Articles Archive for October 2012
The writer and literature professor Jabbour Douaihy is one of the foremost intellectuals of Lebanon. He wants to investigate the violence that shook this country again and again, by literary means. For decades, his family was involved in a blood feud that in the fifties, fell in one day twenty victims. The events of that time has Douaihy processed in his novel “June rain”. By mail, he gives me his phone number. I called.
While the story is ostensibly a domestic one about the narrator and her wealthy household of aunts who must choose between a life of self-denying spinsterhood or rebellious marriage, at its core it is about violence: the religiously motivated violence of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the counter-violence inflicted by a secular government. The two forces are locked into a mutual cycle of hatred, each atrocity sparking the next.
Douaihy’s novel, Chased away, is out in Italian (Feltrinelli)!
The author was in Torino, Italy, for the launch of his book, and was invited to give the inaugural lecture at the prestigious Holden School of Writing and Storytelling, established by Alessandro Baricco in 1984.
She interviewed protesters, doctors, neighbours and defectors about what was happening in the streets, prisons and hospitals of her country, what they saw and what was done to them, often finding that after they had talked to her, they disappeared. She never pretends that she is being heroic, although her persistence sometimes feels foolhardy. This week the book was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, given annually to a British writer who, as Harold Pinter put it in his Nobel speech, casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world (this year, Carol Ann Duffy), and shared with an international writer who has been persecuted for speaking out about their
The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 in memory of the Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter. The Prize is awarded annually to a British writer or a writer resident in Britain of outstanding literary merit who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world, and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.
As an outcome of her successful tour in the US, Samar Yazbek’s book was on September 16th, ranked #1 in its category!