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.
Sudanese writers have been crowding onto the Arab literary scene in increasing numbers, making headway in several pan-Arab literary projects and prizes. With the majority of them living out of the country in the Arab Gulf or in Europe, they are creating almost a virtual Sudanese literary scene, one that cannot be silenced or censored.
Subsequently, what she liked to call “currents of moderation” had swept over her and carried her far from the ideas of political Zionism. She had actually come to hate the lofty but threadbare claims on which that movement had been established. Then she had worked intently for many months and produced two extraordinary studies on cultural Zionism.
“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.
Soon 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
Fly, is an immigrant taxi driver who roams the streets of an unnamed city in his cab. The novel is set at the time of the annual carnival, and revellers crowd the streets in masks and costumes. Fly is an engaging, entertaining and erudite narrator. His taxi is “my boat, or sometimes my airplane, my home, or my library”. Fly divides taxi drivers into two groups: Spiders and Flies.
Comrade Dakhil and his friends in their olive-coloured uniforms descended on us from our roof, coming over the neighbouring roofs. They wandered about the house and went into all the rooms. As evidence, they presented comrade Dakhil with the rosaries they found and small prayer-disks of sacred earth used in prostration, and then they entered the kitchen
Father 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
This view is by no means exclusive to Aslan: in a cultural community characterised by its flattery and narrow interests, Alaa al-Deeb is widely regarded as a saint. Litterateurs of various generations view his writings on them as both an endorsement and a recognition of their talent. Indeed, what earned the late novelist his well-deserved stature was his objectivity and keenness to encourage the new voices in which he saw potential.
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
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!
When he had come to Suez four years earlier to work in the cultural centre, he had had a vague dream that he would find himself in this isolation and that he would sort out the chaos into which his life had descended. He hadn’t dreamed of any major change or great deeds, but he had said that cutting off his ties to Cairo would help him see things differently and that he would at least be able to adapt to the new reality and, most importantly, he would be able to put in order his relationship with the past.
I remember the grave, the darkness, the two angels and the hammer of repudiation and I hear muttering. I hastened and so did my pursuer: there was a dead woman in the alley, her chest bore sharp marks and blue flies were feasting around the clogged blood. Mother Rahma, the kind, bent woman pushing children into life, was found dead.
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
Featuring brand-new stories by: Rawi Hage, Muhammad Abi Samra, Leila Eid, Hala Kawtharani, Marie Tawk, Bana Baydoun, Hyam Yared, Najwa Barakat, Alawiyeh Sobh, Mazen...
Samir Naqqash's stirring novel Tenants and Cobwebs nostalgically commemorates the lost culture of an ancient Iraqi Jewish minority living amidst a majority Muslim population in 1940s Baghdad. The plot unfolds during a time of great turmoil: the rise of Iraqi nationalism and anti-Jewish sentiment fueled by Nazi propaganda; the Farûd, a bloody pogrom carried out against Jewish residents of Baghdad in 1941; and the founding of Israel in 1948. These pivotal events profoundly affected Muslim-Jewish relationships, forever changing the nature of the Jewish experience in Iraq and eventually leading to a mass exodus of Iraqi Jews to Israel in 1951.
Many women crossed paths with his, and in the midst of his longing they glowed then fizzled out, leaving behind fallen momentos from which he made a wax monument of the woman he coveted. His deep passion, confused but solid, began with a painful obsession with a woman he called Sheherazade, the one perpetually beyond reach. His infatuation gave way to a slavish resignation that came with the expected pleasures but drained the soul in a series of attachments to women where he sought some of Sheherazade’s
Hanna Mina, an eminent Syrian writer who chronicled the lives of the poor and oppressed in dozens of books as one of the first Arab novelists to employ social realism, died on Tuesday in Damascus. He was 94.
Sitting on the sofa, reading the same page 24 as she has been doing for days, my mother was suddenly old. I haven’t grasped how my mother grew old. We went to sleep and she was young, we woke up and like that, she was old. Had she aged over night? Is one night enough? Is a handful of dreams from a single night enough for a person to get as old as this? I say that it’s lucky she became old at night and not in the middle of the day, for instance, as I would have been terrified.
THE FAMILY The trumpet came in through the windows, blowing a pain that the mothers had parcelled and stored away, hiding it in cracks and...
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