THE 'THRILLER' FACTOR...
The 'Thriller' genre is apparently marginalised in Arabic writing. According to an article in this month's AUC newsletter, 'The thriller, as a literary genre, has not been done justice to, particularly in this region,' said moderator and AUC Press author, Samia Mehrez, 'Crime is put in a lower tier because it doesn’t feature as literature to begin with and is not included in university curriculums'.
The discussion took place at a roundtable that included prominent Arab authors Mohamed Tawfik, (author of 'Murder in the Tower of Happiness' & 'Candygirl', Ahmed Mourad (author of 'The Blue Elephant', '1919' and most recently 'God Land', and British-Lebanese novelist and essayist Percy Kemp, who discussed the issue during last month’s Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) in Cairo.
To read the article and watch a video on the session, click HERE.
BOOK RELEASES TO LOOK FORWARD TO ...
'Zero K' by Don DeLillo (Picador) - Released May 19
The wisest, richest, funniest, and most moving novel in years from Don DeLillo, one of the great American novelists of our time—an ode to language, at the heart of our humanity, a meditation on death, and an embrace of life.
Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.
'We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?'
'Britt-Marie Was Here' by Fredrik Backman - Released July 7
Britt-Marie is an acquired taste. It's not that she's judgemental, or fussy, or difficult - she just expects things to be done in a certain way. A cutlery drawer should be arranged in the right order, for example (forks, knives, then spoons). We're not animals, are we?
But behind the pedantic, passive-aggressive busybody is a woman with more imagination, bigger dreams and a warmer heart than anyone around her realises.
So when Britt-Marie finds herself unemployed, separated from her husband of twenty years, left to fend for herself in the miserable provincial backwater of Borg - of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it - and somehow tasked with running the local children's football team, she is a little unprepared...
Blending heartbreak and humour as only Fredrik Backman can, Britt-Marie Was Here is the finest novel yet by a modern master of storytelling.
Read or Listen to an excerpt HERE.
WHAT TO READ NEXT WEEK?
'A Rare Blue Bird Flies With Me: A Novel' by Youssef Fadel (translated by Jonathan Smolin) - Hoopoe
Spring, 1990. After years of searching in vain, a stranger passes a scrap of paper to Zina. It’s from Aziz: the man who vanished the day after their wedding almost two decades ago. It propels Zina on a final quest for a secret desert jail in southern Morocco, where her husband crouches in despair, dreaming of his former life.
Fadel pays powerful testament to a terrible period in Morocco’s history, known as ‘the years of cinders and lead,’ and masterfully evokes the suffering inflicted on those who supported the failed coup against King Hassan II in 1972.
Read a review HERE.
DATES FOR YOUR MAY CALENDAR ...
Several Dates in May
the Baileys Prize Book Bar events!
Monday 16 May
Book Launch & Seminar
Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir by Salman Abu Sitta (AUC Press, 2016)
Khalili Lecture Theatre SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Speakers will be Dr. Selma Dabbagh, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Afif Sfieh, Professor Ilan Pappe, Victoria Britain, and Salman Abu Sitta
18:30 to 20:30 (BST)
Click here to download the flyer
Monday 23 May
"Religion and Identity in Modern Egyptian Public Discourse"
Lecture by Reem Bassiouney
Associate professor of applied linguistics, American University in Cairo
Author of Mortal Designs (AUC Press, 2015)
Ewart Memorial Hall, AUC Tahrir Square
Thursday 26 May
Howe, Capildeo, Waldron, Villanueva, McClane: ‘Prac Crit’ Poetry Launch
London Review Bookshop, London