22: Returns And Beginnings
In this episode we talk about recent developments in Cairo, kids’ literature in Arabic, Naguib Mahfouz, and the launch of Marcia’s new project, the literary magazine ArabLit Quarterly.
It was at the October 22 outreach symposium in Cairo that MLQ launched “ArabKidLitNow!” – a collective for the promotion of Arabic children’s literature in translation. The website is arabkidlitnow.com.
At the website, you can learn about the titles that won this year’s Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, the top regional award for Arabic kid lit, including Koozy (about losing your kitty), Think of Others (an illustrated version of Mahmoud Darwish’s famous poem), and Mama, My Classmate, a chapter book about the narrator’s mom coming to learn English with her in class. The YA prize went to Walid Daqqa, a 57-year-old Palestinian writer who’s been behind bars since the age of 25, called The Secret of Oil.
Ursula’s long-awaited essay “The World of the Alley: Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo,” finally appeared in The Nation. Ursula talked about reading Gamal al-Ghitani’s Meetings with Mahfouz, how al-Ghitani brought her to meet the master, and Mahfouz’s iron habits.
MLQ talked about the Fall 2018 debut of ArabLit Quarterly, set for a November 15 release. The theme of the first-ever ArabLit-affiliated magazine is “beginnings.” Those who want to be subscribers can do so through Patreon; otherwise, a storefront will be ready on November 15.
Finally, we circled back to Cairo and the lovely coffee-table book Khatt: Egypt’s Calligraphic Landscape, out in September from Saqi.