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.


25: Lists!

Ursula and MLQ look back at notable books from 2018 and at reads they are looking forward to catching up on over the holiday break. 

Show notes

  • ‘Tis the season for “best of” lists. Ursula wrote about Notable Books of 2018 From and About the Arab World in Al-Fanar; a number of them are books we have discussed on the show. One that we haven’t is Casablanca, Nid d’artistesed. Leila Slimani and Kenza Sefrioui. 

  •  Marcia was still working to compile the “Arab Authors’ Favorites” list that ArabLit runs every year. Early favorites included Mohamed Kheir’s Afalaat al-‘asabieMuhairi Huwaidi’s Wa Kan al-Bayt Akhi al-Saba’aand Mohamed Shoair’s Awlad Haretna: Biography of a Forbidden Novel.

  •  We talked about Shoair’s Biography of a Forbidden Novel, which focuses on Naguib Mahfouz’s Children of Our Alley, and the intimidation of other public intellectuals, particularly Nasr Abu Zeid and Farag Fouda. Shoair’s book is dedicated to Taha Hussein and Nasr Abu Zeid.

  •  Yasmine Rashidi wrote in the New York Times about “How Egypt Crowdsources Censorship.”

  •  Nawal Nasrallah was one of the winners of the $2M Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation, based in Qatar, for her translation of the fourteenth-century Egyptian cookbook Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table.

  •  And, on December 11, Saudi writer Omaima al-Khamis was announced as the winner of this year’s Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, for her historical novel Voyage of the Cranes over the Agate Cities.

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