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Twenty Years of Banipal Magazine – Arabic Literature in
9pm, Friday 8 September
Upper Foyer, Haus der Berliner Festspiele,
Schaperstraße 24, 10719 Berlin
Authors from Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Slovenia and UAE
join Banipal's founders Samuel Shimon and Margaret Obank
at the Berlin Literature Festival to celebrate 20 years of Banipal magazine
Amin Zaoui (Algeria)
Algerian writer Amin Zaoui was born in Bab el Assa in the Algerian
province of Tlemcen. He studied comparative literature at the University
of Oran. He writes and publishes novels in both French and Arabic. His
works follow the Berber-Arabic tradition of storytelling but often
broach sensitive topics such as sexuality or the role of women in the
Arab world. Zaoui believes that the status of women "is an excellent
measure of a society’s progress or decline". He takes on violence,
hypocrisy and opposition to progress in a pointed manner. He analyzes
the political and societal situation in his homeland, criticizing
Algerian politics and the hypocrisy that drowns out the country’s
problems. His first novel in Arabic was banned in Algeria. After
escaping an attack by Islamist extremists and when his books started to
be burned publicly, Zaoui moved to Caen in France in 1995. He moved back
to Algeria in 2000 and has been working there ever since He has one novel published in English, Banquet of Lies (translated by Frank Wynne, pub. Marion Boyars, 2008) and excerpts in Banipals 54 and 56.
Mariam Al Saedi (United Arab Emirates)
Mariam Al Saedi was born in 1974 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. She majored in English literature at UAE University and has postgraduate degrees in urban planning from the American University in Sharjah and in Jerusalem studies from Aberdeen University in Scotland. She has published short stories since 2009. “The Old Woman” and other short stories were published in German translation in the anthology Mariam und das Glück (2009), and presented at the 2009 Basle international book fair. Banipal 42 – New Writing from the Emirates included two of her short stories. Her collection The Seagulls of Guevara (2012) was nominated for the UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Al-Saedi currently works for the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and has written a weekly column on culture for »Al Ittihad« since 2010. She lives in Abu Dhabi.
Emad Fouad (Egypt)
Emad Fouad was born 1974 in Al Farouniya, a village in the Nile Delta in northern Egypt, and grew up in Shobra Elkhema. He studied journalism in Cairo and Ghent, and has worked as a freelance journalist for several Arabic newspapers and magazines. Fouad, who mixes Ma?ri (Egyptian Arabic) with Standard Arabic, has had his poetry published in a series of international periodicals, and five volumes of poetry released by publishing houses in Beirut und Cairo. His relocation to Antwerp in 2004 had a profound effect on his poetry. His poems have been translated into more than ten languages. For the 5th and 6th~German-Arabic Poetry Salon in Aachen and Bonn, several of Fouad’s poems were published in German translation in the anthology Einfach so. A number of his poems have been published in Banipal issues – see two in Banipal 21, Autumn 2004, one translated by Sinan Antoon and one by Camilo Gómez-Rivas; one in Banipal 25, Spring 2006, translated by Camilo Gómez-Rivas; and "Thirteen Poems" in Banipal 54 – ECHOES, Autumn/Winter 2015, also translated by Camilo Gómez-Rivas.
Nouri Al-Jarrah (Syria)
Nouri al-Jarrah was born in 1956 in Damascus. He moved to Beirut in 1981, then to Cyprus in 1986 and finally to London. He is one of the most influential contemporary poets of the Arabic speaking world. He achieved fame with his first volume of poetry, »The Boy« (1982). Since then, 14 further collections have been published in Beirut, Cairo, Algeria, Haifa, Nicosia and Istanbul, a number awarded prizes in different Arab countries and translated into some Asian and European languages. Nouri al-Jarrah’s poems present his vision of poetry and life, to which he has lent a unique voice over the years. His verse leans on a variety of cultural sources, with a particular manner of focusing on mythology, folktales and legends while reflecting on metaphysical considerations and deep, existential questions. His recent epic poem A Boat to Lesbos found great acclaim as a requiem to the huge exodus from Syria, including references to the teachings of the poet Ibn Arabi and drawing on the legacy of mythology in the Mediterranean. Sections of it were published in Banipal 57 – Syria in the Heart. He is currently editor-in-chief of Al Jadeed cultural magazine, and runs the Arabic-language Ibn Battuta Prize for Travel Literature.
Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia)
Veronika Dintinjana, from Slovenia and born in 1977, was selected as »Best Young Author« at the Festival of Young Literature, Urška, Slovenia, in 2002. Since then her poems have been published in Banipal, Stony Thursday, Wyspa and other magazines. In 2008 she won the Maribor Poetry Tournament, the 6th Ljubljana Poetry Slam, and published her first volume of poetry, Yellow Burns the Forsythia Bush (2008), which received the Best First Book award at the 24th Slovenian Book Fair. Her second book, In Dry Dock (2016) was nominated for the Slovenian National Book Critic’s Award. She is also a translator of contemporary North American and Irish poetry, is one of the founders of the Kentaver Art and Literary Society, and organizes the Mlade Rime monthly poetry readings as well as the annual poetry festival of the same name at Tovarna Rog, the autonomous art zone of Ljubljana.
Moderator: Stefan Weidner
with interpreter Mustafa Al-Slaiman and reader Matthias Scherwenikas