This unique feature on Iraqi Jewish writers includes short stories, excerpts from novels, and poems – written by 17 authors – all of whom are of Iraqi descent.
For several centuries, Iraqi Jews were key contributors to Iraq’s rich social and cultural tapestry – active in all areas of life as novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, musicians, composers, singers, and artists. Sadly, all this came to a tragic end with the massive transfer-emigration and forced displacement of Iraqi Jews in the 1950s to Israel.
The feature also includes introductory essays about the authors and poets, who are of different generations, traversing a wide range of languages – from the poetry of the Mani brothers at the turn of the 20th century to the works of Almog Behar and Mati Shemoelof in the early noughties. The texts raise universal questions of belongingness, exile, diaspora, cross-national affinities, and cross-linguistic possibilities. All texts were either translated directly from Arabic (approximately two-thirds) or from Hebrew, with one written originally in English.
The front cover image is of Iraqi-Jewish writer Maryam al-Mulla (1927-2013).