Thursday 24 October 2013
Meeting Room, Kensington Central Library, Phillimore Walk, W8 7RX



This is a free event, and it is now fully booked, but if you would like to be on the waiting list in case of cancellations, please email, or calling 020 7361 3618
For directions to Kensington Central Library, click here.


Banipal Book Club hosts three 20-minute story-telling circles, each with a different story from a different Arab country, published in recent Banipal issues and books. Different members of the Banipal Book Club will lead each circle, introduce each story with a short reading and get the discussion rolling.

The story-telling will be complemented by Moroccan refreshments.


Mahmoud Shukair Mordechai's Moustache and his Wife's Cats
by renowned Palestinian author Mahmoud Shukair is the title story of the author's first collection in English translation (Banipal Books 2007).


Satire – and humour under occupation – is Mahmoud Shukair’s forté. This story of Mordechai, an Israeli border guard at the Qalandiya checkpoint, his draping handlebar moustache and his wife’s three annoying cats will not disappoint.

Translated from the Arabic by Issa J Boullata

Mahmoud Shukair was born in 1941 in Jerusalem, grew up there and returned to live there. He has published numerous literary works, including six short story collections, 12 books for 

Cover of Mordechai's Moustache and his Wife's Cats

children and a biography. He has written six series for TV, three plays, and countless newspaper and magazine articles, including for online publications.

He is a leading figure in Palestinian cultural affairs having served as director-general of literature in the Palestine Ministry of culture, and as editor of Attaleiaah [The Vanguard] newspaper and then Dafater Thaqafih [Cultural Pamphlets].  He has received a number of awards, including the 2011 Mahmoud Darwish Award for Freedom and Creativity. He has participated in many Arab, Palestinian and international festivals, including Manchester (2006), London Book Fair (2008) and Berlin (2009). He is a member of the Institute of Mahmoud Darwish, Ramallah, since its establishment after the poet's death in 2008. For further information on Mahmoud Shukair click here.

• To read Mordechai's Moustache and his Wife's Cats, online, click here.
• To download Mordechai's Moustache and his Wife's Cats as a pdf, click here.

Mona al-Shammari

Black Kohl . . . White Heart
by Mona al-Shammari is published in the current issue, Banipal 47 – Fiction from Kuwait

"Black Kohl . . . White Heart" is a darkly seductive story of a young wife
Banipal 47who goes to unexpected lengths to escape the hopelessly arranged marriage to her hopeless husband whom she thought would be a “knight in shining armour”.

Translated from the Arabic by Sophia Vasalou

• Mona al-Shammari is a Kuwaiti author and journalist. She studied Drama and Theatre at the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts and has been writing short stories since the late 1980s. Her story Muwa’ al-Jinaza (The Funeral’s Miaow) was awarded the Short Story Prize by the Emirati Writers’ Union in 1990. "Black Kohl . . . White Heart" is from her first collection of short stories Yasqut al-Matar, Tamut al-Ameera [The Rain Falls, the Princess Dies] published in 2012.

• To read Black Kohl . . . White Heart online, click here.
• To download Black Kohl . . . White Heart as a pdf, click here.



Luay Hamza Abbas
Ali the Red

by Luay Hamza Abbas was published in Banipal 37 – Iraqi Authors

Vivid flashbacks vie with horrific reality when the narrator gets a phone call to go to the coroner’s office and identify an old school friend. Ali the Red, nicknamed by their teacher for his ruddy face, not his politics, is in the morgue, his forehead and one eye gouged out by bullets. Banipal 37 cover

Translated from the Arabic by Maia Tabet

• Luay Hamza Abbas was born in 1965 in Basra, Iraq and is an important literary voices in Iraq today. He lives and works in Basra where he teaches literary criticism at Basra University. He has four collections of short stories (2008, 2003, 2000, 1997) and one novel (2005) and has also published works in literary Arabic magazines such as Nizwa, Akhbar al-Adab, and Thaqafat. He has received the Creative Short Story Award from the Iraqi Ministry of Culture (2009) and Kikah Best Short Story Award from London (2006).

• To read Ali the Red online, click here.
• To download Ali the Red as a pdf, click here.

• • •

• All three publications will be available on the night free of charge to all participants.

• Different members of Banipal Book Club will lead each circle and introduce each story with a short reading, prompt questions and stimulate discussion. 

• No knowledge of Arabic is needed. All texts are in English translation from the original Arabic and have been published in different Banipal issues or by Banipal Books.

• • •

Nour Festival logo

• For more information about the Nour Festival of Arts, click here.
• For all EVENTS at the Nour Festival, click here.

• BANIPAL is proud to be a partner of the Nour Festival of Arts 2013.
   For more information on all partners of this year's festival, click here.

Banipal is pleased to collaborate with RBKC Libraries Department on this event.
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Libraries:
To contact the Libraries Department, email: