Speculative Fiction in Translation: The Queue

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette Melville House May 24, 2016 224 pages There aren’t any spaceships or spirits in The Queue; no mutant alien viruses or Martian colonies, either. And yet, it is speculative fiction, because Basma Abdel Aziz has taken the reality of Egypt’s oppressive security … Continue reading Speculative Fiction in Translation: The Queue

#WorldKidLit Wednesday: Alya and the Three Cats

Welcoming a new baby into an established household is not always easy, especially when some family members don’t quite understand what is going on. This charming Moroccan import for young children ages 2 and up tells a new baby story from the perspective of three cats: Minouche, Pasha and Amir. Even if, like me, you’re … Continue reading #WorldKidLit Wednesday: Alya and the Three Cats

#WorldKidLit Wednesday: Trees for the Absentees

Being a teenager is hard enough as it is. Layer in the loss of a beloved grandparent, gossiping relatives, a father who is a political prisoner, and the trauma of centuries of military occupation, and perhaps the only way to make sense of everything is to resort to the fantastical. Trees for the Absentees is … Continue reading #WorldKidLit Wednesday: Trees for the Absentees

Literature of Exile: Palestine

Like the Kurds, to be a Palestinian is to grow up in exile, and with exile as a family heritage. During the Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948, "more than half of Palestine's native population, close to 800,000 people had been uprooted, 531 villages had been destroyed, and eleven urban neighborhoods emptied of their inhabitants (from … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Palestine

Literature of Exile: LGBTQ authors

The life of an exile is always complicated, but being an LGBTQ+ refugee can sometimes mean exile from your family and community as well as from your homeland. Today we look at writers from Iran, Somalia, and Pakistan who have confronted the challenge of being a gay refugee. Négar Djavadi flatly states, "I’m not an … Continue reading Literature of Exile: LGBTQ authors

Literature of Exile: Mohja Kahf

“The longest exile is exile of the heartThe only passage for return is love”― Mohja Kahf, E-mails from Scheherazad “[He] [w]ent deep into the cave where wounded men go when they walk around not talking to anyone about what's happening to them on the inside. Also known as Terre Haute.” "Liar," she says to the … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Mohja Kahf

Literature of Exile: The Ashour/Barghouti Family

"Silence said:truth needs no eloquence.After the death of the horseman,the homeward-bound horsesays everythingwithout saying anything." • 'Silence' translated by Radwa Ashour from Midnight and Other Poems, by Mourid Barghouti Although exile is often a family experience it's rare that it produces a family of acclaimed writers. And yet we have the remarkable Ashour/Barghouti family: Mourid … Continue reading Literature of Exile: The Ashour/Barghouti Family

Literature of Exile: Poetry (part 1)

Many of the earliest poems known, from the ancient world, deplore the pain of exile. Whether it is the highly stylized verse of the Arab world, or the oral recitation of Western Saharan, exiles and refugees from all parts of the world have shared their experiences of grief, loss and homesickness through poetry. With so … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Poetry (part 1)

Literature of Exile: Dina Nayeri

Sometimes all that’s left of value in an exile’s life is his identity. Please stop asking people to rub out their face as tribute. Many refugees express profound thankfulness and love for their adopted homeland, yet they often feel burdened with the obligation to embrace their new country and reject the old completely. Criticism of … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Dina Nayeri

Literature of Exile: Graphic Novels

One of the coolest trends in literature is the proliferation of graphic novels as a format for addressing serious issues. Alison Bechdel, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware are just a few author/artists who have demonstrated that graphic novels can be high art and great literature. The most dramatic and influential graphic novel of the late … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Graphic Novels