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.


24: Writing To Remember

This episode is almost entirely dedicated to the work of the Moroccan film-maker, novelist, artist, and poet Ahmed Bouanani – much of which has yet to be released, and much of which was censored or destroyed in his own life.

Show notes

  • Bouanani’s cult-classic novel L’hôpital was re-published in 2012 by DK Editions in Morocco and Editions Verdier in France. Muhammad al-Khudairi’s Arabic translation was published in 2016. Two of Bounanai’s books have been released this year in English translation: The Shutters (translated by Emma Ramadan) and The Hospital (translated by Lara Vergnaud), both from New Directions Press.  

  • A fragment of Bouanani’s filmwork can be seen online: his film about Casablanca in the 1960s,  “6 et 12”is on YouTube, as is a section of As-Sarab / MirageThe film-maker Ali Essafi’s documentary about Bouanani is entitled Crossing the Seventh Gate.

  • Touda Bouanani, Ahmed Bouanani’s daughter and a visual artist, has conserved his work and featured it in her own.

  • Ursula’s piece on Bouanani in the New York Review of Books is unfortunately pay-walled now.

  • Marcia should have a piece about the discovery of Naguib Mahfouz’s “lost” manuscript, set to be published December 11 by Dar al-Saqi in Lebanon, forthcoming soon in LitHub. An extended Q&A with translator Roger Allen, agent Yasmina Jraissati, and manuscript-discoverer Mohamed Shoair will follow on ArabLit. The English translation of what’s being called The Whisper of Stars is forthcoming from Saqi Books in 2019.

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