Banipal Live

Discover the rich and diverse world of Arab writing with four of the finest Arab writers working in English.

Article by Anna Battista | 14 Aug 2006
People are beginning to realise that the Arab world is not the homogenous mono-culture that has been represented stereotypically as a world of camels, deserts, sheikhs and women in hijabs on the one hand, and on the other of oil, fundamentalist Islamists, suicide-bombers and secret police. Margaret Obank is editor of Banipal, the only English periodical on modern Arab literature, and of Banipal Books. She speaks of a growing interest in the Arab world and its contemporary culture and authors: "there is a growing understanding that the Arab world is multi-faceted, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, even multi-lingual, with tremendous contemporary music, dance, films, theatre and, above all, poetry, fiction and autobiographical writings."

The Banipal Live 2006 tour features four writers from four different countries: poets Joumana Haddad from Lebanon and Abed Ismael from Syria, and fiction writers Mansoura Ez-Eldin from Egypt and Ala Hlehel from Palestine. "These four authors are very strong in their own countries," Obank explains, "they cast all the stereotypes about the Arab world to the four winds as they are all different and open-minded."

To promote the tour, Banipal Books recently published, 'Unbuttoning the Violin', a collection of poems and stories that showcase the amazing talent of these four authors. If you are looking for a completely new and very enjoyable experience, don't look further than the Banipal Live 2006 event.
Banipal Live 2006 featuring Joumana Haddad, Mansoura Ez-Eldin, Ala Hlehel and Abed Ismael, will appear at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Peppers Theatre, August 20, 12:30pm.