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
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.
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
My mother and father took a more relaxed view and would always tell me that it was what God had decreed for us and we could not defy our God-given lot. But I was never able to believe them, nor could I accept that my fate should be so very bleak.
'It's wonderful that an august specialist magazine such as Banipal has been active for all these years, providing an outstanding service that essentially has nothing to do with commerce or profit-making, but aims to build bridges between the Arab world and Europe through the English language. "I’m proud that the first creative writings of mine to be translated into English appeared in the pages of Banipal magazine, and the magazine continues to offer texts by Iraqi creative artists who are my colleagues, and by a large group of other Arab writers from a variety of countries
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.
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.
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
My 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!
For the first time I was conscious of the pain in my leg. I had been on my feet since I left my residence. I hadn’t dared ask if I might sit down, for fear of angering the furious detective and to avoid precipitating the flow of more insults from his mouth. I stretched out my hand to accept the case file, but the officer looked alertly toward the door, which opened then.
Perhaps the waterman wanted to exhaust them by allowing the hopeless confrontation to drag on until everyone grew too tired to let even one word escape their lips and so would leave before the battle came to an end. Uncle Abu Ali finally became exhausted, his parched throat finally letting him down. He gestured to those around him to bring him water. Someone handed him a jug of water that must have been hot by that time
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!
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...
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.”
We were surrounded by a truly festive atmosphere in which everyone felt an indescribable, overwhelming happiness. Our morale was sky high, and eyes gleamed with optimism and hope – two things that Yemenis had missed bitterly for the past thirty years. I caught this infectious delight, which coursed through my spirit. For the first time in my life, I felt I was standing on free Yemeni soil.
London. Four in the morning. It was cold but rainless. A typical winter’s night. Darkness had crept into every corner and the pale light of the streetlamps did little to dispel it. Everything was still, frozen in a deep coma. At this inhuman hour, all activity had ceased. Shops and restaurants had shut their doors, and even the swift, tireless motion of buses and trains had ground to a halt. In the deserted aftermath, the streets appeared longer and wider than usual. London was a city of ghosts.
In the meantime, Sumayya had completed seventeen rounds of her tawaf, and she’d started to feel as though her legs were about to detach from her body and go on orbiting the Kaaba forever. She was walking in circles with no beginning and no end, in search of a Mashari who had melted into the crowd. She hoped against hope that she would find him in the spot where she had lost him, loyally circling around the same point that she was. Her face drenched in tears and perspiration, she lifted her hands heavenward and cried: “Lord, I take back all the prayers I’ve ever prayed. Just bring my son back to me!” Health, wealth, the promotion she’d hoped for, for Faisal, a second child after four miscarriages. She didn’t want any of it any more. Every few seconds she would check the phone in her hand, hoping it would ring, hoping to hear his voice saying “Mama?” and telling her where he was waiting for her so that all this terror could come to an end.
On this night, on this chair made especially for her, Saloma shines. Her eyes are sultrily loose, either spontaneously or deliberately, and fixed on the bride. Her bejewelled ikfa2 hairstyle shows the size of her braids under the embroidered veil. Her gold nose-stud, shaped like a flower, is an inseparable part of her nose. And her confidence . . . Aah, her confidence. There is no doubt that her nine chickens are asleep now
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.