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Banipal Magazine – Issue No 31

Banipal Magazine – Issue No 31

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Arab literature in translation, that’s Banipal – but not only presenting more and more interesting authors in the magazine, also looking at new opportunities for development that will encourage a new generation of literary translators, that will give publishers the chance to publish, and readers to read, as well as researching new funding possibilities, and looking at how to make sure the magazine, and then the books, can reach readers, wherever they are.

The Spring Banipal highlights some of the numerous events already this year which focus on literature from the Arab world, such as the new International Prize for Arabic Fiction, the launch of Arabia Books, and Banipal itself winning the UK Incwriters 2008 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Literature (Magazines) – an immensely proud moment being “recognised, selected and celebrated by our peers in literature in the UK”.

This issue pays tribute to publisher Suhail Idriss, founder of Al-Adab publishing house, and to pioneer Iraqi author Fuad al-Takarli. A new departure for Banipal is a dialogue from The Visitor, an enthralling, and fast-moving playscript by Lebanese poet, translator and author Paul Chaoul. There’s a moving testimony by the late Egyptian author Osama Dinassouri from his posthumously published memoir, and searing short story from Dafur by Sudanese author Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin.

Banipal 31 presents the first of a three-part series on Syrian literature. There's fiction from: Zakaria Tamer, with selected stories from a new collection Breaking Knees, Rafik Schami, with an excerpt from his latest work The Dark Side of Love, Khaled Khalifa, short-listed for the “Arab Booker” for his novel In Praise of Hatred, also a chapter from a new novel by Khalil Suwailih, and three short stories from Nihad Sirees, Dima Wannous and Manhal Sarraj.

The poets in the issue are the late Mohammad al-Maghut, from four poets who will visit the UK in July – Lukman Derky, Monzer Masri, Hala Mohammad and Rasha Omran. In addition we feature poets Lina Tibi, Nazih Abu Afach, Abed Ismael, Rima Buaini, Saleh Diab and Jackleen Salam. This first part concludes with a tale of walking through Rome by surgeon/author Khalil al-Neimi.

Book reviews include Hisham Sharabi’s memoir Embers and Ashes, Diane Abu-Jaber’s Origin, Dissident Syria by miriam cooke, Yousef al-Mohaimeed’s Wolves of the Crescent Moon, Outcast by Shimon Ballas, Inside the Night by Ibrahim Nasrallah and Naguib Mahfouz by Rasheed el-Enany.

The cover artist is Mehdi Qotbi from Morocco.



Paul Chaoul – Excerpt from the play The Visitor

Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin – A short story The Music of Bones

Osama Dinassouri – Excerpt from My Decrepit Dog, My Darling Dog

Suhail Idriss 1925 – 19 February 2008
Founder Dar Al-Adab publishing house


Khaled Khalifa – Excerpt from the novel In Praise of Hatred

Mohammad al-Maghut – Five Poems

Dima Wannous – A short story Sahar

Lukman Derky – Sixteen Poems
Performing and in Conversation at Ledbury and London Review Bookshop see events for all details

Lina Tibi – Eight Poems

Khalil Suwailih – Excerpt from the novel Zuhur, Sarah and Nariman

Saleh Diab – Six Poems

Zakaria Tamer – Stories from his new collection Breaking Knees

Jackleen Salam – Two Poems

Nihad Sirees – A short story Thinking of Naima

Nazih Abu Afach – Seven Poems

Rima Buaini – Two Poems

Abed Ismael – Selected poems from Voices

Manhal Sarraj – A short story For the First Time

Rasha Omran – Two Poems
Performing and in Conversation at Ledbury and London Review Bookshop see events for all details

Monzer Masri – Three Poems
Performing and in Conversation at Ledbury and London Review Bookshop see events for all details

Hala Mohammad – Poems from As if I’m knocking on my door
Performing and in Conversation at Ledbury and London Review Bookshop see events for all details

Rafik Schami – Excerpt from the novel The Dark Side of Love


Khalil al-Neimi – Rome in the Rain


Fuad al-Takarli, 1927 – 11 February 2008
Pioneering Iraqi author


Bassam K Frangieh Embers and Ashes by Hisham Sharabi

Tarek el-Ariss Origin by Diane Abu-Jaber

Peter Clark Dissident Syria by miriam cooke

Zuzana Kratka Wolves of the Crescent Moon by Youssef al-Mohaimeed

Judith Kazantzis Outcast by Shimon Ballas

Susannah Tarbush Inside the Night by Ibrahim Nasrallah

Margaret Obank Naguib Mahfouz by Rasheed el-Enany

All these book reviews can be read online. Click here for full iist of online book reviews, originally reviewed in Banipal issues