The Arabist

Bulaq Podcast

BULAQ is a podcast about contemporary writing from and about the Middle East and North Africa. It looks at the Arab region through the lens of literature and at literature through the lens of current events. BULAQ is co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey and M Lynx Qualey and produced by Issandr El Amrani. 

 View of Bulaq quarter, Cairo. HAY, Robert, Esq. Illustrations of Cairo, London, Tilt and Bogue, 1840.

View of Bulaq quarter, Cairo. HAY, Robert, Esq. Illustrations of Cairo, London, Tilt and Bogue, 1840.

BULAQ: The Arab world in books

BULAQ is a podcast about contemporary writing from and about the Middle East and North Africa. It looks at the Arab region through the lens of literature and at literature through the lens of current events.

BULAQ is co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey and M Lynx Qualey and produced by Issandr El Amrani. 

BULAQ is named after a neighborhood of Cairo that hosted the first active printing press in the region. Established in 1820, the Bulaq Press put out its first publication, an Italian-Arabic dictionary, in 1822.  

MLQ is a book critic, editor, ghostwriter, and literary consultant with a focus on Arab and Arabic literatures, particularly as they intersect with translation. She runs the blog ArabLit.

Ursula is a journalist and book critic who writes about education, literature, and politics in the Arab world. She contributes to The Nation, the New York TimesThe Point and The Arabist blog.   

Both Ursula and MLQ spent many years living in Cairo and are now based in Rabat, Morocco. 

You can subscribe to this podcast using this RSS feed or on iTunes.


12: All Over The Map

In this episode, we talk about debates surrounding Western military intervention in Syria; about Arab American writer Randa Jarrar and her Twitter rant against the late Barbara Bush; and about whether there is any alternative to the term “Arab world.” Also Ursula has a squeaky chair. 

Show notes

  • At the recent Yale symposium on translation, Samah Salim discussed the relationship between translator, text, and paratext in “Paratext and Political Translation,” with a focus on the introduction, footnotes, and glossary of her translation to Arwa Salih’s The Stillborn. Kamran Rastegar talked about “Translational Infidelity: Paul Bowles’ notes on For Bread Alone.”
  • If you are near Princeton on April 23 at 4:30, do come hear MLQ speak about “Shifting Local, Regional, and International Pressures on Arabic Literature.”
  • The winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction will be announced Tuesday, April 24. MLQ’s prediction of Aziz Mohammed’s The Critical Case of K as the winner will almost certainly not come true.
  • A Tree Whose Name I Don't Know, by Golan Haji,tr. Haji & Stephen Watts, was a favorite of MLQ’s that did not make the recent Best Translated Book Award poetry longlist
  • Tales of Yusuf Tadros, by Adel Esmat, tr. Mandy McClure, has just been released in English and MLQ was hoping it will receive some prize attention.
  • Leila al-Shami, co-editor of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, is author of The Anti-Imperialism of Idiots.”
  • Randa Jarrar is the author of A Map of Home (2008), Him Me Muhammad Ali (2016) and a handful of tweets about the late Barbara Bush’s legacy that were turned into a major trolling campaign and news story. She teaches at Fresno State, where President Joseph Castro has suggested the university is investigating her tweets, which, he has alleged, “wasn’t just a free speech issue.”  
  • In “Can Muslim Feminism Find a Third Way?” Ursula writes about the resignation of Asma Lamrabet, a well-known Moroccan feminist, from her position at the Mohammedan League of Scholars. Lamrabet was also discussed in Episode 2.
EpisodesThe Editors