Posts tagged literature

Civlizations cross paths in Venice with 22 writers

Twenty two writers from Europe, Africa, Near and Far East and Latin America will be the protagonists on April 2-5 of the Venice international literature festival 'Incroci di civilta' 2014’, or crossroads of civilizations, promoted by the Ca’ Foscari university, Fondazione di Venezia and municipality. Overall, 17 countries will be represented at the festival. Among them are Saudi Arabia, with journalist Raja Alem, author of novels and books for children and born in Makka. Today she resides in Jeddah and Paris. She is considered among the most important Arab-language writers of her generation for The Dove’s Necklace, which won the prestigious International Arabic Fiction Prize in 2011, in which she describes a society dominated by brutal traditions in its difficult quest to compromise with new costumes.

Syria will also be represented in Venice with Salwa Al-Neimi, a leading contemporary Arab novelist. Born in Damascus, after graduating in Arabic language and lityerature, she moved to Paris. The 2000 Pulitzer prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri, a US writer of Indian origins will also be in Venice, along with Welsh filmmaker, screenwriter and painter Peter Greenaway and noir novelist Massimo Carlotto. 

When the West invaded Iraq in 2003, Leilah Nadir was torn in two; both the occupier and the occupied flowed through her veins.
Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has never set foot on Iraqi soil. But she longs to visit the family home in central Baghdad, full of furniture, photographs and clothes, all guarded by her great-aunt, who waits for someone to return and reclaim it. While American helicopters fly low overhead and explosions shatter the calm, the date palms still sway in the heat of the day and jasmine scents Baghdad nights.
As invasion becomes occupation and lawlessness takes hold, Leilah’s relatives tell harrowing tales of car bombs and kidnappings. Her friend, award-winning photojournalist Farah Nosh, sends photos of Leilah’s family—along with stunning portraits of wounded Iraqis. After decades of averting his eyes from Iraq’s pain, Leilah’s father is forced to look back as well. Through his memories Leilah uncovers her family’s lost story, from the British mandate to the Gulf War to the American occupation.
And just as she gives up hope of ever meeting her family, a surprise reunion takes place.
"Far more even than the terrifying bare facts and statistics, this moving memoir, vividly evoking real people and their lives and homes, lets us understand why Iraqis feel that Americans destroyed their country." NOAM CHOMSKY 
“Leilah Nadir’s The Orange Trees of Baghdad reminds us that Iraq is not just a war; it is a country. Lovingly woven together from inherited memory and family lore, her Iraq is infinitely more vivid, more textured, and more heartbreaking than what we see nightly on the news. In the debates about winning and losing the war, this is a book about what loss really means—the theft of history and of homeland.”NAOMI KLEIN, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine
Book Launch:14 March (Friday); 7 p.m.The Big Green Bookshop, N22 6BG

When the West invaded Iraq in 2003, Leilah Nadir was torn in two; both the occupier and the occupied flowed through her veins.

Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has never set foot on Iraqi soil. But she longs to visit the family home in central Baghdad, full of furniture, photographs and clothes, all guarded by her great-aunt, who waits for someone to return and reclaim it. While American helicopters fly low overhead and explosions shatter the calm, the date palms still sway in the heat of the day and jasmine scents Baghdad nights.

As invasion becomes occupation and lawlessness takes hold, Leilah’s relatives tell harrowing tales of car bombs and kidnappings. Her friend, award-winning photojournalist Farah Nosh, sends photos of Leilah’s family—along with stunning portraits of wounded Iraqis. After decades of averting his eyes from Iraq’s pain, Leilah’s father is forced to look back as well. Through his memories Leilah uncovers her family’s lost story, from the British mandate to the Gulf War to the American occupation.

And just as she gives up hope of ever meeting her family, a surprise reunion takes place.

"Far more even than the terrifying bare facts and statistics, this moving memoir, vividly evoking real people and their lives and homes, lets us understand why Iraqis feel that Americans destroyed their country." NOAM CHOMSKY

“Leilah Nadir’s The Orange Trees of Baghdad reminds us that Iraq is not just a war; it is a country. Lovingly woven together from inherited memory and family lore, her Iraq is infinitely more vivid, more textured, and more heartbreaking than what we see nightly on the news. In the debates about winning and losing the war, this is a book about what loss really means—the theft of history and of homeland.”
NAOMI KLEIN, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine

Book Launch:
14 March (Friday); 7 p.m.
The Big Green Bookshop, N22 6BG

The Arab British Centre is proud to present an afternoon of poetry readings and discussion on the seventh anniversary of the bombing of Al Mutanabbi Street.

In March 2007, tragedy struck the heart and soul of Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual community. Al Mutanabbi Street was destroyed by a car bomb which killed over thirty people and wounded more than one hundred. The winding street filled with bookshops and outdoor stalls has for centuries been a meeting place for poets, political dissidents and literary aficionados, and is named after the famous 10th century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi.

Girl Power in Arabic by KARIM EL-GAWHARY

Powerless, defenceless grey mice, which is often the image that the West has of Arab women. Most will be about them, rarely talked with them. Now Arabs speak for themselves, let their lives speak for themselves. In portraits and reportage tells Karim El-Gawhary of living in the dark ages of dictatorship, during the riots and in the Arab world today.

  • Since Umm Naama on the day by bringing a Euro their family of six.Mariam, who fights against sexual violence at Tahrir Square.
  • Sareen, the sniper Gaddafi, and the young Syrian resistance fighter Kouki.
  • Or the Palestinian Kamile whose son goes to war because mom can not compete against God. 
  • There is Manal, which could be filmed while driving as the first Saudi woman. 
  • Or Umm Khaled, the only female lorry driver of Egypt, the bangs with its 30-ton truck through the Nile Valley.

Karim El-Gawhary questioned stereotypes. It’s not about whitewash things. Magdoulin, a young Libyan women’s rights activist, says: “It is important that we in , and not what we to have his head. “This book is about why what Arab women in the head have.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr 
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr

In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia’s medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds—remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia—drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China.

Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America—five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.

Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
A quiet revolution has begun to emerge in the Middle East, one that might ultimately do more to change the face of the region:
TECH-BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Christopher M. Schroeder, a seasoned U.S. internet executive and venture investor travelled to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Damascus and met thousands of talented, successful, and intrepid young entrepreneurs willing to take on political, cultural, legal and societal challenges.
Equally important, Schroeder saw major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal making significant investments, despite the uncertainty in the region. He marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East — one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and economic opportunity.

Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East

A quiet revolution has begun to emerge in the Middle East, one that might ultimately do more to change the face of the region:

TECH-BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Christopher M. Schroeder, a seasoned U.S. internet executive and venture investor travelled to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Damascus and met thousands of talented, successful, and intrepid young entrepreneurs willing to take on political, cultural, legal and societal challenges.

Equally important, Schroeder saw major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal making significant investments, despite the uncertainty in the region. He marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East — one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and economic opportunity.

DISHES FROM THE IRAQI COOKBOOK by LAMEES IBRAHIM
A cook’s tour that brings the richness of Mesopotamia’s culinary culture to the forefront The true richness of Iraqi culture has been hidden for many years, overshadowed by political conflict and war. Yet amid the destruction, Iraq’s culture–and not least its cuisine–has endured intact. The time has surely come to bring the richness of Mesopotamia’s culinary culture to the fore for the world to appreciate and enjoy. 
Dr Lamees Ibrahim was born in Baghdad, and now lives in London with her four grown up children. This is her first collection of recipes.

DISHES FROM THE IRAQI COOKBOOK by LAMEES IBRAHIM

A cook’s tour that brings the richness of Mesopotamia’s culinary culture to the forefront The true richness of Iraqi culture has been hidden for many years, overshadowed by political conflict and war. Yet amid the destruction, Iraq’s culture–and not least its cuisine–has endured intact. The time has surely come to bring the richness of Mesopotamia’s culinary culture to the fore for the world to appreciate and enjoy. 

Dr Lamees Ibrahim was born in Baghdad, and now lives in London with her four grown up children. This is her first collection of recipes.

The Brookings Essay: A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India by William Dalrymple

A a vivid and insightful report on a contest for power and influence in one of the world’s most dangerous regions. With its publication, we’re inaugurating The Brookings Essay, which will feature commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. This innovation is a reflection of our commitment to help ensure the role of high-quality long-form writing in the digital age.

With the U.S. and its allies planning to scale down their military efforts significantly in Afghanistan in 2014, a dangerous neighborhood—filled with nuclear weapons, disputed borders, as well as ethnic and tribal divisions—has the potential to become even more threatening. Dalrymple examines one ominous scenario, which could be disastrous for both the region and the world: the contest between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan becoming even more deadly. Originally from Scotland, Dalrymple has lived in New Delhi for a quarter century and is the author of eight books on the history and culture of the region, including his latest book, Return of a King, which chronicles Britain’s disastrous 1839-1842 campaign on the plains and hills of Afghanistan.

Dalrymple’s new essay combines a historian’s keen perspective, insights gleaned from senior officials in the region, narrative verve and multimedia content to bring a deadly story to life.

The Narrating Gaza website aims to serve as an incubator for a variety of written and visual contributions and diverse human narratives coming from the Gaza Strip, other parts of Palestine and the rest of the world. Almost all of these contributions deal directly or indirectly with the brutal aggression launched by Israel on Gaza in the winter of 2008 and its aftermath.

The website will be a platform for encouraging people, whether they be writers, artists, or ordinary people both young and old - to contribute to the writing of contemporary Palestinian history. It also aims to motivate people to actively participate in the production of their own history by telling their own stories and narratives and relating their personal experiences. It hopes therefore that such a historic and tragic event can be the catalyst for a multitude of observations, contemplations and documentations and that the website will provide a space to reflect on that painful experience in creative and imaginative ways, making these contributions available to all.

(Drawing: War Insane Exhibition by Basel Magousi)

Rich Mix Presents
WRITING REVOLUTION: THE VOICES FROM TUNIS TO DAMASCUS
28 June 2013 | 19:00 - 23:00
Mohamed Mesrati and Malek Sghiri, contributors to a new book ‘Writing Revolution’ (I.B.Tauris, May 2013) discuss their approaches to capturing the Arab Spring in writing. Writing Revolution is a collection of some of the best new writing born out of the Arab Spring.
Writing Revolution is a collection of some of the best new writing born out of the Arab Spring. Bringing together writers from across the Arab world, it tells the deeply moving and personal accounts of these individuals who witnessed and wrote about the profound changes shaking their region. Translated mostly from the Arabic, it is a winner of English PEN’s 2013 Award for outstanding writing in translation. Mohamed Mesrati was born in 1990 in Tripoli, Libya. He is a writer and activist currently working on his novel, Mama Pizza, whilst in exile in the UK.
Malek Sghiri is a 25-year old student, political activist, blogger, and leader of the General Union of Tunisian Students. He founded the movement Jil Jadid (New Generation) and participated in demonstrations in Tunis, Thala, and Tadamon. He was arrested and detained at the Ministry of Interior between 11 - 18 January 2011.

Rich Mix Presents

WRITING REVOLUTION: THE VOICES FROM TUNIS TO DAMASCUS

28 June 2013 | 19:00 - 23:00

Mohamed Mesrati and Malek Sghiri, contributors to a new book ‘Writing Revolution’ (I.B.Tauris, May 2013) discuss their approaches to capturing the Arab Spring in writing. Writing Revolution is a collection of some of the best new writing born out of the Arab Spring.

Writing Revolution is a collection of some of the best new writing born out of the Arab Spring. Bringing together writers from across the Arab world, it tells the deeply moving and personal accounts of these individuals who witnessed and wrote about the profound changes shaking their region. Translated mostly from the Arabic, it is a winner of English PEN’s 2013 Award for outstanding writing in translation. Mohamed Mesrati was born in 1990 in Tripoli, Libya. He is a writer and activist currently working on his novel, Mama Pizza, whilst in exile in the UK.

Malek Sghiri is a 25-year old student, political activist, blogger, and leader of the General Union of Tunisian Students. He founded the movement Jil Jadid (New Generation) and participated in demonstrations in Tunis, Thala, and Tadamon. He was arrested and detained at the Ministry of Interior between 11 - 18 January 2011.

Walls of Freedom 
Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution 
‘Walls of Freedom’ is a powerful portrayal of the Egyptian Revolution, telling the story with striking images of art that turned Egypt’s walls into a visual testimony of bravery and resistance. It takes a closer look at the most influential artists who have made their iconic marks on the streets. This survey of Egyptian street art is also enriched by images of the revolution taken by acclaimed photographers and activists. Spanning major Egyptian cities like Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor it is a day-to-day reflection of the volatile and fast-shifting political situation. With contributions by experts in many fields, ‘Walls of Freedom’ not only places the graffiti of the revolution in a broader context, it also examines the historical, socio-political and cultural backgrounds which have shaped the movement.

Walls of Freedom

Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution

‘Walls of Freedom’ is a powerful portrayal of the Egyptian Revolution, telling the story with striking images of art that turned Egypt’s walls into a visual testimony of bravery and resistance. It takes a closer look at the most influential artists who have made their iconic marks on the streets. This survey of Egyptian street art is also enriched by images of the revolution taken by acclaimed photographers and activists. Spanning major Egyptian cities like Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor it is a day-to-day reflection of the volatile and fast-shifting political situation. With contributions by experts in many fields, ‘Walls of Freedom’ not only places the graffiti of the revolution in a broader context, it also examines the historical, socio-political and cultural backgrounds which have shaped the movement.

Book Launch at SOAS: These 13 stories of young activists from the MENA region (Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine - West bank & Gaza), reveal how young Arab women and men, who come from very diverse backgrounds, regions, continents, share the same passion for their countries, the same audacity of hope for a better tomorrow, the same dream of making their country proud of them. All of the writers who were committed to this project were deeply convinced that one should not ask what their country will do for them, but rather what could they offer their countries. In a world where barriers are constantly being erased, where virtual communication turns the world to a global village, what is this strange bond that ties this Arab youth to politics and public affairs?

Book Launch at SOAS: These 13 stories of young activists from the MENA region (Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine - West bank & Gaza), reveal how young Arab women and men, who come from very diverse backgrounds, regions, continents, share the same passion for their countries, the same audacity of hope for a better tomorrow, the same dream of making their country proud of them. All of the writers who were committed to this project were deeply convinced that one should not ask what their country will do for them, but rather what could they offer their countries. In a world where barriers are constantly being erased, where virtual communication turns the world to a global village, what is this strange bond that ties this Arab youth to politics and public affairs?

A fascinating, groundbreaking look at changing sexual attitudes and behaviour in the Arab world, and their part in 2011’s popular revolts
In the political unrest that has swept across the Arab region in 2011, all eyes have been on the streets and squares erupting in protest. But for the past five years, Shereen El Feki has been looking at upheaval a little closer to home - in the sexual lives of men and women across the Arab world. The result is Sex And The Citadel, an informative, insightful and engaging account of a highly sensitive and still largely secret aspect of Arab society. Sex might seem a strange lens with which to examine change in the Arab world; it is, in fact, a prism with which to refract the region’s complex social spectrum. Sexual attitudes and behaviours are intimately bound up in religion, culture, politics and economics. As such, they are not only a reflection of the conditions that led to the recent uprisings, as well as one of the engines of revolt, but will also be a measure of hard-won reforms in the years to come.

A fascinating, groundbreaking look at changing sexual attitudes and behaviour in the Arab world, and their part in 2011’s popular revolts

In the political unrest that has swept across the Arab region in 2011, all eyes have been on the streets and squares erupting in protest. But for the past five years, Shereen El Feki has been looking at upheaval a little closer to home - in the sexual lives of men and women across the Arab world. The result is Sex And The Citadel, an informative, insightful and engaging account of a highly sensitive and still largely secret aspect of Arab society. Sex might seem a strange lens with which to examine change in the Arab world; it is, in fact, a prism with which to refract the region’s complex social spectrum. Sexual attitudes and behaviours are intimately bound up in religion, culture, politics and economics. As such, they are not only a reflection of the conditions that led to the recent uprisings, as well as one of the engines of revolt, but will also be a measure of hard-won reforms in the years to come.

Love and Devotion
From Persia and Beyond
By Susan Scollay
Tales of earthly and spiritual love were recounted and reinterpreted by Persian poets from the 11th century onwards. Stories of lovers such as Yusuf and Zulaykha, Khusrau and Shirin, and Layla and Majnun were embraced not only in Iran but also in the neighbouring Mughal and Ottoman empires. In courtly settings versified epics and lyrical couplets were copied into illustrated manuscripts for elite patrons in the eastern Islamic world, for whom poetry was a key component of cultural life from the 14th to the18th centuries.
Susan Scollay is an art historian specializing in the Islamic world. She is guest co-curator of the 'Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond' exhibition.

Love and Devotion

From Persia and Beyond

By Susan Scollay

Tales of earthly and spiritual love were recounted and reinterpreted by Persian poets from the 11th century onwards. Stories of lovers such as Yusuf and Zulaykha, Khusrau and Shirin, and Layla and Majnun were embraced not only in Iran but also in the neighbouring Mughal and Ottoman empires. In courtly settings versified epics and lyrical couplets were copied into illustrated manuscripts for elite patrons in the eastern Islamic world, for whom poetry was a key component of cultural life from the 14th to the18th centuries.

Susan Scollay is an art historian specializing in the Islamic world. She is guest co-curator of the 'Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond' exhibition.

The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings End of an Old Order? 
Edited by: Bassam Haddad, Rosie Bsheer, Ziad Abu-Rish, Foreword by: Roger Owen
The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings sheds light on the historical background and initial impact of the mass uprisings which have shaken the Arab world since December 2010. The book brings together the best writers from the online journal Jadaliyya, which has established itself as an unparalleled source of information and critical analysis on the Middle East.
The authors, many of whom live in the countries affected, provide unique understanding and first-hand accounts of events that have received superficial and partial coverage in Western and Arab media alike. While the book focuses on those states that have been most affected by the uprisings it also covers the impact on Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.
The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings covers the full range of issues involved in these historic events, from political economy and the role of social media, to international politics, gender, labour and the impact on culture, making this the ideal one-stop introduction to the events for the novice and specialist alike.

The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings End of an Old Order?

Edited by: Bassam Haddad, Rosie Bsheer, Ziad Abu-Rish, Foreword by: Roger Owen

The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings sheds light on the historical background and initial impact of the mass uprisings which have shaken the Arab world since December 2010. The book brings together the best writers from the online journal Jadaliyya, which has established itself as an unparalleled source of information and critical analysis on the Middle East.

The authors, many of whom live in the countries affected, provide unique understanding and first-hand accounts of events that have received superficial and partial coverage in Western and Arab media alike. While the book focuses on those states that have been most affected by the uprisings it also covers the impact on Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.

The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings covers the full range of issues involved in these historic events, from political economy and the role of social media, to international politics, gender, labour and the impact on culture, making this the ideal one-stop introduction to the events for the novice and specialist alike.