Arabic language and Arab authors

arab authors rayyan al-shawaf, massoud hayoun, joumana haddad, elias khoury

Where would we be without language, without books? In a time when many of us are asking ourselves whether we've reached peak intelligence, knowing how truly far away we are from transcendence, language itself is the final frontier between evolution and barbarism. Thankfully, writers remind us of what we have in common, and how we might unite against the darker forces constantly working to drive us apart.

We invite you to support these authors by reading their work and discussing it with your friends:

arabic language in al jadidIn Al Jadid, the essential magazine for Arabic culture and language in English, founded in Los Angeles as a print magazine decades ago by the irreverent and irreplaceable Elie Chalala, the editor himself asks:

Can Arabic Language ‘Translate’ into the Modern World?

The Arabic language has always been a source of pride for a majority of Arab intellectuals. Yet, traditional celebrations of the language have been politicized at the expense of organizing professional conferences to address the challenges that have been facing the Arabic language, especially its failure to keep up with the technological revolution.

With the global recognition of the Arabic language comes the persistent question: why is Arabic struggling to hold its own among native speakers, with the lack of fluency blatant in radio broadcasts, newspapers, and television?

Read the complete article here.


In the Los Angeles Review of Books Jordan Elgrably, the cofounder of The Markaz (Levantine Cultural Center, 2001), reviews the work of two younger Arab authors as each explores the Zeitgeist for Arabs in the USA after the events of 9/11.

rayyan al-shawaf, massoud hayoun, la review of booksSeptemberland, How to Find Your Way in a Post-9/11 Dystopian World

TO BE A STRANGER in your own land is alienating enough, but to be a stranger among your own people? That vexing question is at the heart of two books — one a Bildungsroman, the other a memoir — by Arab authors whose narratives might be best described as the misadventures of the insider-outsider.

Read the complete article here.


Also in the Los Angeles Review of Books, author Tom Zoellner, senior politics editor at LARB, travels to Beirut to interview Joumana Haddad. A certified firebrand, Haddad, who says she's a third wave feminist, was the former longtime cultural editor at Beirut's An-Nahar newspaper. She is the author of the provocative I Killed Scheherazade, Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman and its sequel, Superman is an Arab: On God, Marriage, Macho Men and Other Disastrous Inventions. More recently she published the novel The Seamstress' Daughter.

joumana haddad interviewed in la review of books by tom zoellnerDoomed to Survive, But Not Live: An Interview with Joumana Haddad

JOUMANA HADDAD announced a full-scale revolt against traditional notions of Arab femininity with her 2010 essay collection, I Killed Scheherazade, referring to the titular crafty storyteller of The Arabian Nights. She also spared no critique of Middle Eastern men — of all religions — for what she believed were patriarchal and backward attitudes toward sex and marriage.

Read the complete interview here.


elias khoury, my name is adam, interviewed by tom zoellner in the la review of booksAlso during his trip to Beirut, LARB's Tom Zoellner managed to interview the storied Arab-language novelist and public intellectual Elias Khoury, author of the now-classic novel of the Nakba, Gate of the Sun. A longtime journalist and editor, Khoury has authored more than a dozen novels, plays and works of criticism. For several years he taught at NYU and other American universities, before returning to his native Lebanon. 

What Is Good in Man is Love: An Interview with Elias Khoury

Read the complete interview here. 

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  • Jordan Elgrably
    published this page in Read 2020-02-16 05:13:40 -0800