Selections of poems and fiction, sampling the richness and variety of the hundreds of authors in the issues. Plus a chance to hear and see a few of the authors in performance.
A short story from Kuwait
Gypsies! I first heard the word from Sheikh Jasim al-Ahmadi, the religious scholar. When I was ten years old, my family sent me and my cousin Saleh, who was nine months older than me, to spend our summer holidays at the sheikh’s home, for us to have fun and improve our Arabic. The sheikh had a kindly face and spoke as clearly as a BBC announcer. Every morning he would lecture us and other children of the same age on history. He also read us Mutanabbi’s heroic poetry and speeches by famous Arabs.
The short story A Smile on his Face
A month ago during the last air raid on our neighbourhood, a shell landed on our street. The shrapnel hit the roof of the bird man Abu al-Tir’s house, who went into the coop to serenade his birds and let them peck seeds off his head every time there was a raid. This time the coop was smashed to smithereens, bird parts and blood were strewn everywhere, but we could not find him or his head.
Mohamed Berrada in conversation with Jonas Elbousty
In this interview, the pioneering Moroccan novelist and critic Mohamed Berrada talks about how he got involved in the world of literature, and about the development of the short story and the novel in Morocco. "Through imagination," Berrada says, "literature has the power to make the world seem other than it is. And this matter is of utmost importance because it moves the reader to liberate their power of imagination to construct different worlds in search of the imaginable."