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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...

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...

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...

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...

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