Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

Presenting literary news from Egypt, USA, Morocco, and Qatar!

We are back with your weekly dose of literary news from around the world. Our very own Jessie Stoolman takes you on a journey through the cultural landscape of Morocco and Qatar. Following, our editor-at-large on the ground Omar El Adl writes about the latest goings-on in Egypt, and last but not least, Reverie Powell brings you the latest from the buzzing literary scene in Texas.

Jessie Stoolman, Editor-at-Large from Morocco, reports from Morocco and Qatar:

The 21st Annual Salon International de Tanger des Livres et des Arts just wrapped up on May 7 after four days of roundtables, workshops, concerts (including the iconic Moroccan rock band, Hoba Hoba Spirit), and appearances from world-renowned authors like Mohamed Kacimi (featured in our latest issue), Sapho, and Tahar Ben Jelloun (Prix Goncourt winner).  In conjunction with the book fair, Darna Theater’s Dakirat al Mostakbal – Memoires d’Avenir presented “Nous Sommes”, a piece outlining the lives of two young Moroccans that asks “[s]ommes-nous condamnés à n’être que ce que l’on nous sommes d’être?” Darna Theater is a local non-profit situated outside Tangier’s old city that provides community members opportunities in drama education. “Nous Sommes” was presented in both French and Darija (Moroccan Arabic.)

Don’t fret if you weren’t able to attend the book fair because there is still a chance to see Abdellah Taïa at the Librairie des Colonnes in Tangier on May 9, where he will present a brand-new translation of his novel, Un pays pour mourir, into Arabic (بلد للموت).  At the book fair, Taïa gave a conference about his writing and the difficulties facing society today which was structured as a conversation between him and young Tangerines. Taïa’s letter “Homosexuality Explained to My Mother” and an interview with the author appeared in Asymptote’s July 2012 issue.

Lastly, moving from literature and theater to art, if you find yourself in the Gulf, head to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, which announced that the next permanent collections display will feature Chaibia Talal.


Talal, who is a self-taught painter from Chtouka, near El Jadida, overcame obstacles stemming from her gender, nationality, class, and status as a widow to become world renowned for developing a unique free figurative style.

Omar El Adl, Editor-at-Large, reports from Egypt:

Egyptian author Lobna Ahmed Nour is hosting a 12-hour marathon with seven participants focused on writing with the senses, in collaboration with ADEF. The marathon will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with rules such as no entry or exit for participants. Those who wish to participate should fill out the form here before Monday 22 May and those chosen will be notified by phone the next day.

Doum Cultural Foundation is hosting an evening of reading the personal letters of Franz Kafka, Amal Dunqul, Henry Miller, Ghassan Kanafani, and Jibran Khalil Jibran on May 13. The idea is to share with audiences a side often unseen of influential writers whose works are familiar. Also at Doum is a psychodrama workshop on May 18 with Sahar El-Mogy. Participants can sign up here.

In Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Hossam Abdel Qader will talk about the vision behind the city’s book fair which ended in April. The talk will be given on 14 May at Al-Anfushi cultural palace.

Reverie Powell, Educational Arm Assistant, has the latest from USA:

Happy Birthday to the Writer’s Garret, a nonprofit organization that provides creative writing classes in nontraditional settings throughout North Texas. The Writer’s Garret celebrated its 21 year anniversary the weekend of May 5-7 by showcasing writers, poets, artists, and other professionals who have contributed to making DFW a thriving literary community. Bonehouse Poets, Vellum Ouroboros, Poets on X+, Mad Swirl, OPP (Other People’s Poetry), Pandora’s Box, and Dark Moon Arts and Poetry represented the diversity of Dallas’s literary arts community with a weekend long celebration.


The White Rock Zine Machine, a writing workshop where artists create tiny single poem zines to be dispensed in a refurbished baseball card machine will launch its fourth flight of zines on May 12 at Deep Vellum Books. This time around, thirteen writers have responded to the work of photographers of MakeShift Photography to create an exhibition at Kettle Art Gallery that will run from May 11- June 3 and created zines that highlight the show.


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