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After Tunisian literature, Banipal 40 gives readers Libyan Fiction
Libyan Fiction is the theme of Banipal's first issue this year, due out on March 1st, with 135 pages of terrific reading from Libya's foremost fiction writers, and introduced by Omar Abulqasim Alkikli on The Libyan Short Story, and Ibrahim Ahmidan on The Libyan Novel.
Banipal 40's page 1 is given over to the translation of a statement by hundreds of Arab intellectuals, writers and journalists that is circulating online, a declaration of "full solidarity with the Arab peoples who have gone out into the streets to demand their legitimate rights".
In the Editorial, Samuel Shimon writes:
"Today we publish Banipal's 40th issue, and what an amazing coincidence that it should be dedicated to the celebration of Libyan literature at such an extraordinary historical moment in the Arab world when the region is witnessing a chain of uprisings and revolutions against dictatorial and corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and, finally, Libya.
"We at Banipal are very proud of this special issue on Libyan fiction, and with it announce our absolute solidarity with the Libyan people in their aspiration to democratic rule and the exercising of all their rights, the first of which are to express their thoughts and the abolition of all forms of censorship on audio-visual media and literature.
"When I met by chance the veteran Libyan writer Ali Mustafa al-Musrati, one evening at the Greek Club in Cairo, February 2007 (at this time exactly), I said to him: “I’m extremely saddened by the neglect of Libyan literature in the Arab world and by the ignorance of the West.” I promised him that Banipal would publish a special feature on the wonderful literature of Libya. And how happy we are to fulfil this promise at this time in particular . . ."
The Libyan authors are: Ghazi Gheblawi, Wafa al-Bueissa, Hisham Matar, Ibrahim al-Koni, Mohammed Mesrati, Razan Naim Moghrabi, Mohammed al-Asfar, Ahmed Fagih, Giuma Bukleb, Omar el-Kiddi, Saleh Snoussi, Najwa Binshatwan, Omar Abulqasim Alkikli, Azza Kamil al-Maghour, Ibrahim Ahmidan, Redwan Abushwesha, Mohammed al-Arishiya, Mohammed al-Anaizi. There is also profile on Ali Mustafa al-Musrati.
In addition, there are fiction writers from Morocco (Abdelkarim Jouiti) and Oman (Jokha al-Harthi), an excerpt from a memoir, just published, by Abdo Wazen, one of Lebanon's major poets, and an interview with Alawiya Sobh, one of the Arab world's finest women novelists. Plus book reviews and Books in Brief.