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BULAQ | بولاق

Arts & Culture Podcasts

BULAQ is a book-centric podcast co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey (in Amman, Jordan) and M Lynx Qualey (in Rabat, Morocco). It focuses on Arabic literature in translation and is named after the first printing press established in Egypt in 1820. Produced by Sowt. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Location:

Jordan

Description:

BULAQ is a book-centric podcast co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey (in Amman, Jordan) and M Lynx Qualey (in Rabat, Morocco). It focuses on Arabic literature in translation and is named after the first printing press established in Egypt in 1820. Produced by Sowt. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Twitter:

@bulaqbooks

Language:

English

Contact:

00962798554826


Episodes
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Etel Adnan: “I Write What I See, Paint What I Am”

7/3/2024
Art critic and journalist Kaelen Wilson-Goldie joins us for a sweeping look at the life, writing, and art of singular Lebanese author-artist Etel Adnan (1925-2021). Kaelin Wilson-Goldie’s Etel Adnan is available from Lund Humphries. Adnan’s Time, translated by Sarah Riggs, is available from Nightboat Books. The Beauty of Light, a collection of interviews with Laure Adler, is available from Nightboat Books in Ethan Mitchell’s translation. It was initially published in French, as "La beauté de la lumière, entretiens," by Éditions de seuil, in 2022. An excerpt from Adnan’s “Jebu” is available in the single issue of the magazine Tigris, hosted on ArabLit. Sitt Marie Rose is available in Georgina Kleege’s English translation from the Post-Apollo Press. Adnan’s essay “On Small Magazines,” where she writes of meeting Abdellatif Laâbi, is available on Bidoun. Adnan’s “To Write in a Foreign Language” describes her journey with and through languages. All the images used in promotion of this episode are courtesy of the Sfeir-Semler Gallery. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:07:13

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This Moment

5/2/2024
Majalla 28 is a literary magazine out of Gaza co-producing an issue with ArabLit. We talk about the work by co-editors Mahmoud al-Shaer and Mohamed al-Zaqzouq and read excerpts from that issue. After that, we talk about a particular kind of Palestinian literature – by writers serving life sentences. Find out more about the Gaza issue at arablit.org More writing by Heba Al-Agha, translated by Julia Choucair Vizoso, is also available at arablit.org You can read more about the late author Walid Daqqa, who died in an Israeli prison, at Jadaliyya Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Srour’s The Wall, translated by Luke Leafgren, is out now from Other Press A Mask, the Colour of the Sky, by Palestinian writer Basim Khandaqji, won this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Khandaqji is serving three consecutive life sentences; his novel is forthcoming in English translation from Europa Editions. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:40:57

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Ghassan Kanafani: Defiance on Every Page

3/14/2024
Ghassan Kanafani is best known for his famous novellas, but he was many things besides a talented writer: a prolific journalist, an insightful critic and editor, a heterodox Marxist, a spokesman for the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He wrote and lived like he had no time to waste (which turned out to be true: he was assassinated in an Israeli car bombing at the age of 36). He remains one of the most respected and beloved of Arab icons, but his non-fiction work is less known than it should be. In 1970 he wrote a book of historical analysis: The Revolution of 1936-1939 in Palestine. Its translator, historian Hazem Jumjam, joined us for a conversation about this book on a failed revolution and everything we can still learn from it today. Hazem Jamjoum’s translation of Kanafani’s The Revolution of 1936–1939 in Palestine is available from 1804 Books. Mahmoud Najib’s translation of Kanafani’s On Zionist Literature is available from Ebb Books. Kanafani’s complete works in Arabic are available from Rimal Books. Kanafani’s Men in the Sun was adapted to film as The Dupes (1972). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:08:04

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WITH GAZA

1/18/2024
This episode features writing from and about Gaza, and explores the imperative to write, between hope and hopelessness, at a time when words both seem to count enormously and to not be enough. Show Notes This episode’s cover art is by Chema Peral @chema_peral Letter from Gaza by Ghassan Kanafani was written in 1956. Mahmoud Darwish’s Silence for the Sake of Gaza is part of his 1973 collection Journal of an Ordinary Grief. The poet Mosab Abu Toha has written about his arrest and his family’s voyage out of Gaza Atef Abu Seif’s “Don’t Look Left: A Diary of Genocide” is forthcoming from Comma Press Fady Jouda’s poetry collection [...] is forthcoming from Milkweed Press You can read poetry in translation by Salim al-Naffar and Hiba Abu Nada, both killed under Israeli bombardment, at ArabLit. Other magazines that have been translating and sharing Palestinian poetry include Mizna, Fikra, LitHub, The Baffler, and Protean magazine. The book that was removed from the curriculum in Newark is the book Sonia Nimr co-wrote with Elizabeth Laird, A Little Piece of Ground. Ghassan Hages’ essay “Gaza and the Coming Age of the Warrior” asks: “Is it ethical to write something ‘interesting’ about a massacre as the massacre is unfolding?” Andrea Long Chu’s essay “The Free Speech Debate is a Trap” calls for “fighting with words.” At the end of the episode, Basman Eldirawi reads his poem “Santa” in honor of Refaat Alareer, an educator and poet who was killed on December 7. #ReadforRefaat is part of a week of action being called for by the Publishers for Palestine collective. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:08:37

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On Translating Arabic Literature with Robin Moger

10/12/2023
We talk to Robin Moger about how he became a translator from Arabic and about what has changed in recent years in the field of Arabic literature and translation and what has stayed the same. Moger’s first book-length literary translation was Hamdi Abu Golayyel’s 2008 novel الفاعل, which became A Dog with No Tail. His most recent is a translation of Iman Mersal’s في أثر عنايات الزيات, which appears as Traces of Enayat from And Other Stories in the UK (2023) and Transit Books in the US (2024). Show Notes: This episode is produced in collaboration with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, showcasing the stimulating and ambitious work of writers, translators, researchers, academics and publishers advancing Arab literature and culture around the globe. For more information about the award visit zayedaward.ae Moger’s old website, Qisas Ukhra, is still available at qisasukhra.wordpress.com. The poem “The Translator’s Soliloquy,” which was read on this episode, is also there. More information about his online and offline translations is available at his website: www.robinmoger.com/translations. You can read an excerpt of Traces of Enayat at ArabLit. Don’t miss our previous episode with Iman Mersal, “The Books You Need to Read and Write.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:53:14

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A Crime at the End of the Sahara

9/14/2023
Said Khatibi’s detective novel نهاية الصحراء (End of the Sahara) is set in a remote desert city in Algeria in the Fall of 1988, when the country’s October Riots are about to break out place. The book is one of the winners of this year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Khatibi explained how his writing is also a way of exploring larger historical crimes. Show Notes: This episode is produced in collaboration with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, showcasing the stimulating and ambitious work of writers, translators, researchers, academics and publishers advancing Arab literature and culture around the globe. Today’s guest, Said Khatibi, was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2023 in the category of Young Author, for his novel نهاية الصحراء, or “The End of the Sahara.” Khatibi is a writer and journalist who is based in Ljublana, Slovenia. Khatibi’s 2018 novel Sarajevo Firewood was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2020, and he won the Katara Prize for his 2016 novel Forty Years Waiting for Isabel. His Sarajevo Firewood was translated by Paul Starkey and is available from Banipal Books. Edith Maud Hull's 1919 novel The Sheik was adapted into a 1921 film of the same name starring Rudoph Valentino. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award Translation Grant is open all year round, with funding available for fiction titles that have won or been shortlisted for an award. Publishers outside the Arab world are eligible to apply - find out more on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award website at: zayedaward.ae Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:46:54

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Remembering Hamdi Abu Golayyel

7/13/2023
Egyptian novelist Hamdi Abu Golayyel died last month at the age of 56. In this episode, we remember Hamdi and his one-of-a-kind literary career, telling the story of Egypt’s laborers, Bedouin, and migrants. Show Notes: Egyptian Novelist Hamdi Abu Golayyel Dies at 56: ‘There Was No One Like Him’ A Special Section at ArabLit on Abu Golayyel, Bedouin Poetry, and ‘The Men Who Swallowed the Sun’ Mohamed Kheir remembers Hamdy Books available in translation are: Thieves in Retirement (translated by Marilyn Booth), A Dog with No Tail (translated by Robin Moger), and The Men Who Swallowed the Sun (translated by Humphrey Davies. Please support BULAQ! You can donate to our fundraiser for the 2023 season at donorbox.org/support-bulaq. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:19:27

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Inside The World of Lebanese Comics with Rawand Issa

6/15/2023
Comics artist Rawand Issa joins us to talk about her book Inside the Giant Fish (trans. Amy Chiniara, Maamoul Press); her path from journalism to graphic art; artist groups and collectives across the region; the “new school of Arab comics,” and the challenges of making a living as a comics artist. We also talk about a few other Lebanese graphic novels, particularly Lamia Ziadé’s My Port of Beirut, translated to English by Emma Ramadan, and Lena Merhej’s I Think We’ll Be Calmer in the Next War. Show Notes: You can find several of Rawand’s books available from Maamoul Press: http://maamoulpress.com. Also read Rawand’s “Being Illegal is Unbearable at The Nib, her ماذا نفعل في مواجهة استمرار العنف ضد النساء؟ at Jeem and her untitled work in Chime. And if you missed it, there’s a discussion with Rawand and translator Amy Chiniara about Inside the Giant Fish at ArabLit. Samandal magazine is on Instagram (@samandalcomics), and you can find them at samandal-comics.org. You can buy copies of the magazine Corniche at the Sharjah Art Foundation website. Lab619 (@lab619), Skefkef (@skefkefmag/), and Fanzeen Comics (@fanzeencomics/) are on Instagram, while TokTok has a website, toktokmag.com. Rawand Issa (@rawand.issa_) and Amy Chiniara (@amychiniara) are both on Instagram, too. Lamia Ziadé’s My Port of Beirut, translated to English by Emma Ramadan, from Pluto Press Lena Merhej’s We Will Be Calmer in the Next War is available online. Please support BULAQ! You can donate to our fundraiser for the 2023 season at donorbox.org/support-bulaq. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:00:31

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Sawad Hussain’s Translation Advice

5/11/2023
Translator Sawad Hussain joins us to talk about the challenges of making a living as a translator, the art of co-translation, her focus on Arabic literature from Africa and the Gulf, and the advice she gives to her translation mentees. We also highlight three of Sawad’s recent and forthcoming translations: Haji Jaber’s Black Foam, Bushra al-Maqtari’s What Have You Left Behind, and Stella Gaitano’s Edo’s Souls. Show Notes: Haji Jaber’s Black Foam, co-translated by Sawad Hussain and M Lynx Qualey, came out in February from AmazonCrossing. You can read reflections on the novel at Hadara magazine and listen to a sample at Amazon. Bushra al-Maqtari’s What Have You Left Behind was published, in Sawad’s translation, by Fitzcarraldo. As Sawad mentions, there is an audio long read at The Guardian. Stella Gaitano’s Edo’s Souls is forthcoming from Dedalus Press in August in Sawad’s translation. You can read an excerpt and a review at ArabLit, as well as other work by Gaitano. You can find our fundraiser for the 2023 season at donorbox.org/support-bulaq. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:58:06

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Looking Back From Iraq

4/6/2023
Twenty years after the disastrous and mendacious US invasion of Iraq, we take a look at writing from Iraq: memoirs, poems and blog posts. Shalash the Iraqi is a collection of such posts – a satirical, surreal, and affecting panorama in life in a Shia suburb of Baghdad in the early years of the occupation. Show Notes: An excerpt from Gaith Abdul-ahad’s memoir A Stranger In Your Own City ran recently in the Guardian Shalash The Iraqi, trans. Luke Leafgren, is a collection of blog posts written in 2005-2006 An excerpt from Faleeha Hassan’s memoir War and Me, tans. William Hutchins ran on Arablit.org. The Book of Trivialities, by Majed Mujid, trans. Kareem James Abu-Zeid The only English-language collection of Sargon Boulous’ self-translated poetry is Knife Sharpener from Banipal Books. You can find a list of his poems available online here. You can make a donation to support BULAQ's 2023 season here: https://donorbox.org/support-bulaq Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:56:35

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Love and its Discontents

3/2/2023
We wandered through Arabic poetry and prose to talk about many different forms of literary love: regretful love, unreciprocated love, bad love, vengeful love, liberating love, married love. We read this poem by Núra al-Hawshán: “O eyes, pour me the clearest, freshest tears And when the fresh part’s over, pour me the dregs. O eyes, gaze at his harvest and guard it. Keep watch upon his water-camels, look at his well. If he passes me on the road I can’t speak to him. O God, such affliction And utter calamity! Whoever desires us We scorn to desire, And whom we desire Feeble fate does not deliver.” The Núra al-Hawshán poem, translated by Moneera al-Ghadeer, has a modern musical adaptation on YouTube produced by Majed Al Esa. Yasmine Seale’s translation of Ulayya Bint El Mahdi. This poem and others were set to music on the album “Medieval Femme.” Do’a al-Karawan (“The Nightingale’s Prayer”) by Taha Hussein I Do Not Sleep, Ihsan Abdel Kouddous, trans. Jonathan Smolin The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz (1956-57) Al-Bab al-Maftouh (The Open Door) Latifa al-Zayyat, trans. Marilyn Booth (1960) All That I Want to Forget, by Bothayna Al-Essa, translated by Michele Henjum. Rita and the Rifle, Mahmoud Darwish, made into a song by Marcel Khalife. Ode to My Husband, Who Brings the Music by Zeina Hashem Beck Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:07:15

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Should You Turn Down That Literary Award?

2/2/2023
It’s literary prize season! When the Sawiris Cultural Awards were announced at the start of 2023, novelist Shady Lewis Botros turned his novel award down, launching a storm of criticism, defense, and discussion. Is it bad manners or good politics to turn down a prize? How do different prizes affect the literary landscape? How is the 2023 prize season shaping up? Show Notes: Mada Masr published “A conversation with Shady Lewis Botros on the genealogy of literary refusal” The International Prize for Arabic Fiction recently announced their 2023 longlist, with a historically high number of women writers (half). Also in Jan 2023, Banipal Prize judges announced that two novels had won their 2022 prize. By coincidence, we did a joint episode on those two novels. PEN America recently announced their lit-prize longlists. Iman Mersal’s The Threshold, translated by Robyn Creswell, made the poetry-in-translation longlist. In December 2022, Fatima Qandil’s Empty Cages won the Naguib Mahfouz medal, and she said it was the first time she’d won a prize. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:58:29

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Getting Your Wish

12/1/2022
Egyptian graphic novelist Deena Mohamed talks about her debut urban-fantasy trilogy Shubeik Lubeik (“Your Wish is My Command”). A product of playful self-translation, it’s coming to English as a single volume. It will be unbottled by Pantheon (US) and Granta (UK) on January 10, 2023. Show Notes: While the US edition keeps the title “Shubeik Lubeik,” the UK edition will use a literal translation: “Your Wish Is My Command.” Find more of Deena’s work at http://deenadraws.art and on Twitter and Instagram as @itsdeenasaur. The Arabic originals were published by Dar Mahrousa and are available in the US through Maamoul Press. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:02:35

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Yasmin El-Rifae’s Radius

10/27/2022
El-Rifae’s book Radius: A Story of Feminist Revolution tells the story of a movement that mobilized in Egypt to protect female protesters from mob sexual attacks in 2012 and 2013. Based on interviews with friends and comrades, the book explores memory, truth, gender, violence, political organizing, trauma, and possible futures. Show Notes You can order the book directly from @VersoBooks. Read an excerpt at Granta. The book launches October 24 in New York City; there will also be events in Philadelphia and D.C. Follow Yasmin for updates about more events at @yasminelrifae. More writing by Yasmin El-Rifae is available on Mada Masr. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:10:53

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1001 Nights: A Never Ending Story

9/30/2022
In this sponsored episode, we talk to Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner Dr. Muhsin Al-Musawi about his life-long scholarship on the 1001 Nights. Show Notes: This podcast is produced in collaboration with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, showcasing the stimulating and ambitious work of writers, translators, researchers, academics and publishers advancing Arab literature and culture around the globe. Today’s guest, Professor Muhsin Al-Musawi, was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2022 in the category of “Arab Culture in Other Languages,” for his book “The Arabian Nights in Contemporary World Cultures.” Al-Musawi is a professor of classical and modern Arabic literature, comparative and cultural studies at Columbia University. He is the author of 39 books and the editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award Translation Grant is open all year round, with funding available for titles that have won or been shortlisted for an award in the Children’s Literature and Literature categories. Publishers outside the Arab world are eligible to apply - find out more on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award website at: zayedaward.ae Professor Al-Musawi’s biography and a description of his book can be found on the SZBA website. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:50:15

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End of Summer Reading

9/15/2022
We’re back to talk about books we read over the summer and books we’re looking forward to this fall. Including poetry from Iman Mersal, Hadiya Hussein’s novel about looking for a lover disappeared in Saddam’s Iraq, and Mohamed Alnaas’ novel about the pressure to be a certain type of Libyan man. Show Notes: Iman Mersal’s The Threshold, trans. Robyn Creswell, is a selection from four of her poetry collections, forthcoming from McMillan. Hadiya Hussein’s Waiting For The Past, trans. Barbara Romaine, is forthcoming from Syracuse Press. Bread on Uncle Milad’s Table, by Mohamed Alnaas, won the 2022 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:46:20

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The Interesting Case of a Saudi Novel

8/25/2022
In Aziz Muhammad’s The Critical Case of a Man Named K, an unnamed narrator is diagnosed with leukemia. His 40-week journal, shaped by his readings of Kafka, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, sarcastically and movingly documents his alienation from his body, his surroundings and even, eventually, from books. Show Notes: An interview with translator Humphrey Davies. We also talked about a few other works where protagonists are diagnosed with cancer:Shahla Ujayli’s A Sky So Close to Us, translated by Michelle Hartman (Interlink Books); Radwa Ashour’s Heavier than Radwa (Dar Al Shorouk), although this is a memoir; Haifa al-Bitar’s A Woman of This Modern Age (Dar Saqi); Hassan Daoud’s No Road to Paradise, translated by Marilyn Booth (Hoopoe Fiction). We also mention some Saudi books that have won awards or attracted international attention, such as Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea and The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:54:15

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Aftershocks

8/11/2022
An earthquake inspired Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s Agadir, published in French in 1967 and translated to English by Jake Syersack and Pierre Joris. Part playtext, part novel, part political essay, part poem, this insurrection of a book takes as its starting point the devastating 1960 earthquake that struck the Moroccan city. Show Notes: We also talked about a few recently published and forthcoming poetry collections. Mohamed Stitou’s Two Half Faces, translated by David Colmer (Phoneme Media) Ra’ad Abdulqadir’s Except for This Unseen Thread, translated by Mona Kareem (Ugly Duckling Presse) Ibn Arabi’s The Translator of Desires, translated by Michael Sells (Princeton University Press) Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger’s Agitated Air: Poems After Ibn Arabi (Tenement Press). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:55:55

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The Book of Travels

7/21/2022
We talk to scholar Elias Muhanna about translating a magical, delightful eighteenth-century travelogue. In 1707 Hanna Diyab journeyed from his native Aleppo as translator to a rapacious and sometimes ridiculous Frenchman. He survived a shipwreck and a pirate attack, met King Louis XIV, and gave The Thousand and One Nights translator Antoine Galland a dozen new stories. Cheated out of a promised job in Paris, he eventually returned to Syria, where he wrote it all up in his old age. Show Notes You can download a free Arabic PDF of the Book of Travels on the Library of Arabic Literature website. You can read more about Diyab (and speculation about whether he was the “real Aladdin”) in Paolo Lemos Horta’s Marvellous Thieves: Secret Authors of the Arabian Nights. You can read Yasmine Seale’s stand-alone translation of Aladdin, introduced by Lemos Horta, or get her new Annotated Arabian Nights, edited and introduced by Lemos Horta, out this month from WW Norton. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:01:02:51

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Stories Just Sprout Inside You

6/30/2022
An Interview with Maria Dadouch, who won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Children’s Literature this year. Dadouch’s book The Mystery of the Glass ball features two children becoming friends, fighting villains and protecting nature on a train ride in the near future. We talked about the need for more Arabic YA books; contemporary sci-fi; literary prizes; digital publishing and why writing for teenagers is the hardest thing to do. This episode is produced in collaboration with the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is one of the Arab world’s most prestigious literary prizes, showcasing the stimulating and ambitious work of writers, translators, researchers, academics and publishers advancing Arab literature and culture around the globe. Today’s guest, Maria Dadouch, was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2022 in the category of Children’s Literature, for her novel لغز الكورة الزجاجية or "The Mystery of the Glass Ball." Dadouche is a screenwriter and children’s author from Syria who has published over 50 books. The Sheikh Zayed Book Award Translation Grant is open all year round, with funding available for titles that have won or been shortlisted for an award in the Children’s Literature and Literature categories. Publishers outside the Arab world are eligible to apply - find out more on the Sheikh Zayed Book Award website at: zayedaward.ae You can find some of Dadouch’s many childrens’ books in Arabic here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Duration:00:43:53