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Banipal Magazine – Issue 32

Banipal Magazine – Issue 32

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Banipal 32, Summer 2008, introduces a number of new voices for the first time published in English. There is the young Egyptian author, Mohamed Salah al-Azab, who is 27 with already several literary awards to his name. There is Abdulaziz Al Farsi, from Oman, with an excerpt from his debut novel, [Weeping Earth . . . Laughing Saturn. Lebanese author Ahmad Ali El-Zein, has authored four novels and his latest, The Edge of Oblivion, which we excerpt here, is the first volume of a trilogy about fictional hero Abdul Jalil Ghazal. Also from Lebanon is May Menassa, with an excerpt from her novel Walking in the Dust, which was short-listed this year for the inaugural Arabic “Booker” prize. From Syrian author and poet Maher Sharafeddine comes an excerpt from his debut novel, and from renowned fiction writer and dramatist Abdel Khaliq al-Rikabi, one of the few major Iraqi authors to have stayed in the country, an excerpt from his acclaimed novel Seventh Day of Creation.

Banipal also presents poetry from Syria by three poets writing in three different languages: the late Mamdouh Adwan in Arabic, Mohja Kahf who writes in English, and Adel Karasholi who writes in German – all of them highly accomplished and published poets. Plus two new poetic voices, the young Egyptian poets Ahmad Yamani and Mohamed Metwalli. Interview with an Editor is with literary translator from Arabic to German Hartmut Fähndrich, this year celebrating his 50th translation of Arabic fiction.

In Banipal 32, sadly, we pay tribute to Doris Kilias, “the voice of Naguib Mahfouz in German”, who died in June 2008, and to the “Voltaire of the Nile” (as the French press called him) Egyptian author Albert Cossery, a friend of Banipal, who died in Paris, also in June.

In this issue we present Part 2 of the Feature on Syrian Literature, and look forward to continuing it in the Autumn/Winter issue with a number of equally important authors.

The Travelling Tale is a fascinating walk through Jerusalem observing its shuttered and barred windows, as told by Palestinian author and resident of the city Mahmoud Shukair.

Book Reviews include the prize-winning novel by Baha Taher [Sunset Oasis], Naomi Shihab-Nye’s Tender Spot collection of poetry, Banquet of Lies by Amin Zaoui and the selection in Books in Brief.

The cover artist is Zena Assi from Lebanon.


TRIBUTE to Albert Cossery 1913–2008

Mohamed Salah al-Azab – Excerpt from Repeated Stopping
Ahmad Ali El-Zein – Excerpt from The Edge of Oblivion
Abdulaziz Al Farsi – Excerpt from Weeping Earth . . . Laughing Saturn
May Menassa – Excerpt from Walking in the Dust

TRIBUTE to Doris Kilias 1942–2008

Ahmad Yamani – Two Poems
Mohamed Metwalli – Three Poems

Mamdouh Adwan – Four Poems
Haidar Haidar – A short story Pollen
Maher Sharafeddine – The Hand An excerpt from a novel
Mohja Kahf – A Poem for Hamsa Newmark’s Sixieth Birthday
Adel Karasholi – Twelve Poems
Haifa Bitar – A short story Love

Abdel Khaliq al-Rikabi – Excerpt from Seventh Day of Creation

Mahmoud Shukair – Windows of Jerusalem

Hartmut Fähndrich – Arab Literature is now on the map

Khaled Hroub Wahat al-Ghuroub [Sunset Oasis] by Baha Taher

Judith Kazantzis Tender Spot by Naomi Shibab Nye

Lulu Norman Banquet of Lies by Amin Zaoui

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