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Habib Abdulrab Sarori : The Discarded ComputerBecause of the extraordinary state of emergency declared in America and Europe immediately after the terrorist incidents, I head directly from the coffeehouse to my Paris home. I am welcomed rather anxiously by my beloved house robot, Bahlul. His artificial intelligence programs system, which is linked to the internet, learned that danger threatens the entire inhabited world. The moment I arrive his eye’s cameras direct their electronic sensors
Nine poems by Saudi poet Ahmed al-MullaIn the kitchen thirst fell down.
His dreams trembled.
The window was torn open, stabbed by lightning scattering in the hallways.
His hands settled down and his soul reclined but there was nothing to lean on. They dived into clouds, drowning caught them and salt followed suit.
Water flowed, sobbing until the walls were dry. The pictures flaked off the walls and glass leapt out of the wooden frames.
The estrangement of his bed subdued, it makes him a nightcap.
Khaled Khalifa: The Refugee - Living in a VoidMy 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 and didn’t want to hear what I thought. She just said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowns. A few minutes later I tried to call the unfamiliar Turkish number but the phone had been turned off
Jonathan Wright wins 2016 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Bamboo StalkJonathan Wright’s seamless English rendering does full justice to the original, exhibiting a sureness of touch that fully captures the spirit of the Arabic version. Although the particular cultural context of the work will be unfamiliar to many English-speaking readers, Wright’s ‘page-turner’ translation has a universal appeal, and it is difficult not to be moved by the predicament of the narrator, with his dual identity of Isa and José, as he comes to terms with the reality of life in Kuwait.
Film about Syrian Poet and translator Mamdouh Adwanwas born in Hama in Syria. He was a prolific writer, poet, playwright and critic, publishing his first collection of poetry, al-Dhul al-Akhdhar [The Green Shadow] in 1967 and since then 17 further collections. He also published two novels, twenty-four plays, translated twenty-three books from English, including the Iliad, the Odyssey and a biography of George Orwell, and wrote a number of television series.
One Sky A short story by Palestinian writer Liana BadrI named him Robin, based on the assurances of our bird-loving neighbour. When I expressed my doubt about the name due to the incomplete red ruff on his neck feathers, he told me: “This is a young bird. The full red has not yet appeared on his feathers.”
Playing with the Clouds by Iraqi writer Ali BaderSoon after finishing the pizza, he turned on the TV to a porn channel to kill time. The only thing available in this country was porn channels, and there was a store just around the corner that would give you access to any channel for a little bit of money. Most of the owner’s customers were among the Islamists who had issued a fatwa that looking at non-Muslim women was OK
Eleven Poems by Syrian poet Hussein Bin HamzaBEFORE I SLEEP
Although I/ no longer care about anything,/ and squander most of my time out of the house –/ for days / I haven’t changed the water of the flowers,/ and the books/ and cups/ and cigarette ends/ are content with a layer of dust – yet,/ I find time/ to feed the wolves of your absence/ before I sleep.
"A ride on the roof" by Sudanese writer Emad BlakeThen a pile of banknotes fell out – a little surprise I wasn’t expecting. It looked like a lot, maybe one thousand guinay, given each note was worth ten, and there must have been a hundred of them. The officer slammed the palms of both hands down on the table, stunned to see such a huge amount of cash, though not as stunned as I was. That old man had been carrying all that money
Adonis: Banipal is a unique cultural projectBanipal has been realizing a unique and twofold project within the sphere of cultural productions of the Arab world. For, on the one hand, it provides a space in which Arabic literary texts are set in motion, in a direct dialogue with literary texts in the English language, in terms of both content and form. And, on the other hand, it offers an historic opportunity that allows for the language of the self to be reflected in the language of the Other, through a continuous, diverse and profuse flux.
Hussain al-Mozany: Mother, Mother Tongue, and FatherlandIf I think back to my childhood and boyhood, I do not remember anything which demonstrated that my mother was primarily responsible for teaching me the principles of the Arabic language. Over time I have realised that we did not speak much in our house because silence and gesture were the prevalent languages then. My memory offers me only scattered fragments of the tales my grandmother offered ingeniously once she discovered her voice after her husband
A FATEFUL MEAL by Eyad BarghuthyTheir fathers had had a special friendship. They had both fled the village of Samaria for Acre after the ’48 Nakba. Mufid’s father had got himself one of the shops offered to refugees and had opened a grocery, while Saber’s father had worked as a building labourer on the new Jewish settlements.
Adel Khozam: House of the Wise ManDoing turns around the same spot in the same place will never lead to anything. Every day you need what’s new and extraordinary. Set off then: run through impossible pathways so you touch limits, so you’re the first to make a discovery and reach the truth
The Snows of Cairo by Lana Abdel Rahman The company where he would work consisted of a number of different Arab nationalities. The interviewer, an engineer, asked him a number of questions, about his previous jobs and his experience. He was so pleasant that Nagi became suspicious, but in the end, he joined the team and learned in the first few weeks that the company was managing huge tourist projects on the coast of the Red Sea
The Day the Olive Harvest was stopped by Mohammad KhashanWe harvested half or, sometimes most of the olives, but did not grind them. They remained in a heap on the platform in front of the house. That was in October 1948 and [political] conditions were becoming worse; yet people continued to act as though nothing had happened
The Gate of Passion by Waheed Taweela“Everything needs prostitutes,” Abu Shindi tells you. He’s sitting on one side of his table in a secluded corner, directly under a picture of the President. He sees you, but you don’t see him. The seat may have changed, but the years haven’t, and neither has the President’s picture.
Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2016 Shortlist for Literature & Children's LiteratureThe Sheikh Zayed Book Award has announced the short list for the Literature and Children’s Literature categories following a series of intensive meetings of the Scientific Committee. The list includes three titles per category which have been unanimously approved by the judges.
Paul Starkey wins the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for 2015The 2015 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation is awarded to Paul Starkey for his translation of the novel The Book of the Sultan’s Seal by Youssef Rakha, published by Interlink Books, USA. And the judges commended Jonathan Wright for his translation of the novel Land of No Rain by Amjad Nasser, published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing
The Monk’s Hell by Shakir NooriFather Sharbel had paid a visit to Iraq, returning with painful memories which found their way out at the slightest opportunity. Those close to him said that he had tired of life in the monastery and wished to return to Assyria; that the spirit of the place had taken possession of him
The Book of Disappearance by Ibtisam AzemMy mother ran out of the house after putting on shoes that didn’t match. Her curly hair was tied back with a black band. The fear on her face was patent and her blue eyes seemed bigger. The edge of her white shirt hung over her grey skirt. I followed her out. She looked like a mad woman, roaming the streets of Ajami. She was searching for my grandmother. In a hurry, as if trying to catch up with herself. Hearing my footsteps she turned back and gestured with her broom-thin arm – go back!

The Time Wanderer excerpts from a novel by Iraqi writer Fadhil al-Azzawi
But suddenly, something happened that saved my life. As a young writer, I had been publishing poems, short stories and articles for years, in the local newspapers and magazines, under the pseudonym “Shakespeare of Baghdad”. The name caught the attention of military commanders, who were looking for writers and journalists to work in their propaganda wing, and began looking into my whereabouts, until in the end they found me and pulled me out of the hole where I had been buried
8 Arabic novels in Banipal magazine
Summer Banipal is a chance to present a host of great reading opportunities, and our focus theme The Longlist, featuring novels from the longlists of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction over the last two years, offers precisely that. In a number of previous issues we have published, in collaboration with the IPAF Banipal 59
– The Longlist is packed with features, including for the first time a Guest Poet translated from Spanish – the great Angel Guinda who is recognised as “one of the most necessary and original poets in Spanish literature”, and “an incorruptible voice”. We are also proud to present, following features in earlier issues on Arabic literature in Japan and China, a fascinating essay by Russian Arabist Viktoria Zarytovskya on “Arabic Literature in Russia”, from its first translations of the Qura’n to the lack of translators today

Sally Gomaa reviews Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge by Ezzedine Choukri Fishere
The identity crisis so keenly experienced by some of the characters in the novel is as personal as it is political. For example, “Darwish’s book” in the first chapter is Albert Hourani’s History of the Arab Peoples. Now dying of lung cancer, Professor Darwish begins to ponder the figurative cancer in all of his failed relationships. Hourani’s book opens a window into this dark world.
The dead await me on the curb by Moroccan poet Abderrahim El-Khassar

Luis Fayad: A Writer Looks at Lebanese Influence in Colombian Literature
Fayad, who was born in Bogota in 1945, said he never thought he would write a book about Lebanese emigration to the Americas, and especially to Colombia, but eventually explored that topic in “La caida de los puntos cardinales” (The Fall of the Cardinal Points). “And why? Any Colombian could’ve written it, and I wrote it because I had direct exposure to the stories of my grandparents, of my great-uncles, who were the ones who made the trip.
No Knives in the Kitchens of This City’ Describes a Syrian Hell
Khaled Khalifa writes about his native city with sensuality and an almost feral intensity in his new novel, “No Knives in the Kitchens of This City.” The book focuses on just one family, and it stops several years short of the Syrian civil war. But it offers a glimpse into how terrified and empty of hope the people of a city must be to rise up in revolt. The future offers them nothing. It is a castle of closed doors.
Banipal 57 Editorial by Margaret Obank
Banipal’s core mission is to bring readers gems, in translation, from the wealth of creative writing being produced across the Arab world today. Banipal 57 – Syria in the Heart brings you twelve Syrian authors, and in addition, two from Palestine and Iraq. The focus on Arab literary modernism and its pioneers has been postponed on account of this most urgent subject of the future of Syria.
Olivia Snaije reviews Ici Même (Here and There) by Taleb Alrefai
Time has its own rhythm in Kuwait city, and two years later, Kawthar, in her late twenties approaches her father once again and tells him she would like to buy an apartment of her own.
“This had the effect of an electric shock on him . . . I would have liked to tell him that the world had changed, that I had the right to live my life in peace, as I saw fit to.”

The 100 best nonfiction books: No 8 – Orientalism by Edward Said

Raja Alem :Reading the infidels in Mecca
I continued to filch from his bag until I was shocked to find The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade, which I never admitted to stealing and didn’t even dare read at the time. But the true opening came with Maxim Gorky’s The Mother, which I found by accident in my maternal grandfather’s drawer. Gorky’s revolution roared through my mind, and forged my vision of the role I had to play as an agent of change in the world around me. Because my mother is of Russian origin

Youssef Rakha: Rediscovering and reanimating the Arabic language
My models were great historians of Cairo: Jabarti and, before him, Ibn Iyas. It was very enjoyable finding and employing a unique language for the book, mainly because it was risky, a challenge, but also because it was an opportunity to think about words and their origins and how they fit together. It was a way of rediscovering and reanimating the Arabic language.
Berlin Literatur Festival: Call for a World Wide Reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This is why the international literature festival berlin is calling upon all cultural and political institutions, schools, universities, media and individuals interested in joining us to give a Worldwide Reading and to subsequently discuss the 30 articles that make up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations Assembly on 10 December 1984
The Last Jew of Tamentit Excerpt from a novel by Algerian writer Amin Zaoui
Her last husband, who was the imam and muezzin of the mosque in Tidikelt, had drawn her attention thanks to his beautiful voice when it reminded the faithful to pray to their God five times a day. At first, the muezzin had been a little disconcerted when he’d heard his wife speak to her bees in Latin
Farewell Herbert Mason
We are very sad to report that our consulting editor Herbert Mason passed away suddenly on New Year's Day. The distinguished Professor Emeritus and the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of History and Religious thought at Boston University, author and translator of Louis Massignon's 4-volume work on The Passon of Al-Hallaj will be much missed around the world. We will always remember him through his writings and translations. All our deepest condolences and sympathies to his family. A full obituary and tribute will appear in Banipal 58
Stefan Weidner: Ein Marschländer geht von uns
Die weitaus meisten Autoren, welche Sprachwechsler sind, nicht in ihrer Muttersprache schreiben und mehrere Herkünfte und Identitäten für sich reklamieren, entscheiden sich am Ende für eine der beiden Seiten. Dass Hussain al-Mozany sich nicht entscheiden konnte oder wollte, dürfte zwar dazu beigetragen haben, dass ihm größerer Ruhm versagt blieb. Es macht ihn auch unter den Autoren, die den Chamisso-Preis bekamen, zu einem Sonderfall
"Liars Get Everything" An excerpt from the novel by Iraqi writer Ali Bader
It was a rainy day in Brussels, and on that cold, wintry day the view of the city was gloomy, gray and wet from that apartment window in the Matonge neighborhood. Everything from that view was awash with water: Shops, streets, the passenger’s faces, cars, trees, dumpsters, and the barstools on the sidewalk. Women, wearing rainy coats and umbrellas, walked slowly towards the Porte de Namur metro station from Ixelles Avenue, while others were running, trying to find shelter beneath the cornices and umbrellas of Boniface shops.
CITY POEMS by Moroccan poet Mbarek Sryfi
On the same bench
Sits an old woman, a red hat on her head,
Chewing a slice of plain pizza
As she gazes away, far, far away
As she mumbles words to herself or someone
Seen by no one but her
She has seen better days
Her left hand shakes
As she holds the paper plate
When she stands up
And slowly disappears

A BOAT TO LESBOS A poem by Syrian poet Nouri al-Jarrah
Suffering Syrians, beautiful Syrians, Syrian brothers fleeing death. You won’t reach the shores on rafts but will be born on beaches with the foam.
Lost gold dust you are, melted gold dust, scattered, dulled.
From abyss to abyss in the hollow of the sea of the Rum, with the star fish and her brother, the roving squid, the waves convey you under the light of Ursa Major, the Daughters of Na’sh.

Fiery Curses A short story by Qatari writer Noura Mohammad Faraj
I entered the public library a few days ago to research an essay I am writing and asked the librarian for the room where the books I needed were shelved. He pointed me to a downstairs room accessed by a spiral staircase.
I could not believe my eyes, which opened wide. It was the very same staircase from my dream!

Salma Hayek: I Saved My Belly Dancer
New York-based Egyptian artist and photographer Youssef Nabil’s film is a poetic depiction of his fascination with belly dancers and his anxiety over the disappearance of this art form that is unique to the Middle East. This excerpt of a 12-minute video installation is visually inspired by the 1950s