Syrian Literature: Between Curses of the Past and Challenges of the Present

By Nuri al-Khalaf Editor of Syrian Literature Month for Global Literature in Libraries I remember – one day – that I delivered a long speech introducing and praising the Syrian culture and literature to a big crowd of students.  Once I finished my speech one of my professors said to me: “Dear Nuri, you talked a … Continue reading Syrian Literature: Between Curses of the Past and Challenges of the Present

Freedom Hospital

This stunning work of art is a four-year labour of love by an artist who has clearly drawn on an enormous range of personal sources and media to populate and complicate his rich and compelling graphic novel. Freedom Hospital doesn’t claim to be comprehensive, or objective, or a documentary — but nor does it claim … Continue reading Freedom Hospital

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

  This unique picture book was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, discovered by chance by Canadian children’s writer Margriet Ruurs. The author was immediately impressed by the strong narrative quality of Mr. Badr’s work, and, using many of Mr. Badr’s already-created pieces, she set out to create a story … Continue reading Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

Ports of Soul

  Hasan al-Nifi's photo    “A Flower from my Country” by Hasan al-Nifi   Oh, flower It has lost her dew suddenly The heart’s tears flowed into its vein She scavenges from soil pain and sips Embers of catastrophe from the silt of its depths   Her roots’ pulse has watered the earth’s wounds Its tenderness … Continue reading Ports of Soul

A Weed in Paradise

Haitham Hussein‘s latest novel, A Weed in Paradise (July 2017 Masciliana Editions), traces the footprints of the Kurds who fled their towns and villages in the north of Syria for the suburbs of the capital Damascus after the 2004 Qamishli uprising, which resulted in dozens of dead and thousands in prison: The novel, narrated by a marginalized woman, follows … Continue reading A Weed in Paradise

Insights into Syrian Cinema: Essays and Conversations with Contemporary Filmmakers

The collection Insights into Syrian Cinema was conceived of as a companion catalogue to a showcase of Syrian cinema that traversed major US cities beginning in 2003. The concept of a book became obvious when the curator and editor Rasha Salti recognized the dearth of sources on Syrian cinema in English. The selection of writings … Continue reading Insights into Syrian Cinema: Essays and Conversations with Contemporary Filmmakers


  One of my favorite things about traveling and exploring different cultures is trying new foods.  Cooking and eating are a staple of every way of life, and yet the endless ways in which ingredients and spices can be combined fascinates me.  Things get even more interesting when cultures meet: a chef moves from Syria … Continue reading Malakeh

Farewell Damascus

  I confess myself bowled over in appreciation of Ghada Samman’s compelling new novel, Farewell, Damascus, recounting a young married girl’s awakening sense of  having lost her life after handing it over to a man she once loved, now become her hateful enemy. This young woman freely determines each day how to live dependent on … Continue reading Farewell Damascus

Adonis: Selected Poems

The Human is the Poetry of the Universe “The word in poetry must transcend its essence, it must swell and include more” As befits a poet of his name, the span of Adonis’s work – the parabolas of his vision – carry over great distances, both of space and time, or more accurately they dismantle … Continue reading Adonis: Selected Poems

Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts

  In his obituary to the celebrated Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, published a few days after his death in May 1998, Adel Darwish writes that “for Qabbani, national liberation was meaningless without sexual liberation.” Qabbani, who had spent much of his life as a diplomat and ardent Arab nationalist, also spent much of his life … Continue reading Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts