New Book Places Famed 20th Century Lebanese Beauty and Unappreciated Intellectual May Ziadeh at Center of Controversy Now as Then

Forthcoming in Al Jadid
By 
Elie Chalala

Twenty-years ago, Al Jadid published “The Victim Of Beauty: Reviving the Literary Legacy of Mai Ziadeh” by Ghada Samman. The issue we tackled then was how Ziadeh's talents and skills were overlooked because of her gender, and even worse, how highlighting her personal life at the expense of her intellect distorted her legacy. One Lebanese critic was emotionally overwhelmed by the recent book, “May: The Nights of Isis Copia” (Dar al-Adab, 2018) by Waciny Laredj, expressing her appreciation for this kind gesture by the Algerian-French novelist and academic toward a fellow “Lebanese.” However, an Egyptian critic takes issue with the new book. The same concerns which fueled early criticism of how Ziadeh was treated did not escape the notice of Sharif al-Shafei's thoughtful essay in Al Modon newspaper.  

May Menassa (1939-2019): Journalist, Novelist Wrote in the Black Ink of War and Tragedy

Forthcoming in Al Jadid
By 
Al Jadid Staff


The Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) spurred the production of a vast literature. Yet only a small fraction of these books, novelsand memoirs are available in English. An even smaller portion received wide attention through reviews or publicity campaigns. This leaves a void in the English language about the literature of this war. This essay highlights one novelist’s contributions in the Arabic literature of the war as well as a brief glimpse into her life.

Jocelyne Saab: A Just Life

Filmmaker, Journalist, Photographer, Fighter for Justice Dies at 70
By 
Al Jadid Staff
 
Jocelyne Saab belonged to a generation of Lebanese filmmakers and artists, often described as progressive and leftist, that emerged before, during, and after the Lebanese Civil War. A contemporary of directors like Burhan Alawia, John Chamoun, Maroun Baghdadi, Nahla al-Shahal, young progressive directors of the time, Saab shared their commitment to social justice, basic reforms in the pre-1975 Lebanese political system, and a commitment to defending the rights of Palestinians both within Lebanon and supporting their struggle against Israeli occupation.

Leila Slimani: Demolishing Barriers with Literature and Francophone Values

By 
Naomi Pham

Beyond her award-winning novels, the public knows Moroccan-French novelist Leila Slimani for her advocacy of francophone values, promoting the French language, a culture of diversity and openness, as well as for her support for women’s rights. During the French presidential elections, Ms. Slimani  accompanied President Emmanuel Macron in his visit to Morocco, encouraging Moroccan-French citizens to vote for him against the right-wing and ethnocentric Marine Le Pen. According to press reports, the French President initially wanted to appoint Slimani as Minister of Culture, but she declined. So he appointed her as his personal representative of francophone affairs.

Nostalgia for a Lost Damascus Leads Native Son into Danger in New Thriller

In his latest novel, “Sophia,” Syrian-German author Rafik Schami takes readers on a journey from Beirut and Heidelberg to Rome and Damascus through the eyes of Salman, the son of Sophia, the novel’s namesake, who is a beautiful Christian woman who had recently left her Muslim lover, Karim, to marry Yusuf Baladi, a rich Damascene Christian goldsmith. The story follows Salman’s trail as he flees Syria to Lebanon after accidentally wounding a police officer in an armed revolt to topple the dictatorship.

Dystopic Trends in Modern Arabic Literature

In the first two decades of the 21st century, the Arabic literary scene has witnessed a new trend in fiction in the form of a dystopian narrative. Where Arabic research has mainly focused on Classic Western utopias as characterized by the writings of Thomas More, Tommaso Campanella, Samuel Butler, and 20th-century Western dystopian fiction, the rise of Arabic authors exploring the dystopian genre has caught the attention of Western readers. These new dystopian works by Arab authors have been defined as the start of a new literary genre in modern Arabic literature, written mostly in English or French, with any works written in Arabic quickly being translated into English, suggesting an interest and wish on the part of the authors and publishers for a presence in the Anglophone market.

The Passing of Two Women, Very Different, But Bonded By Their Search For Peace

By 
the Editors


Two strong women’s lives never crisscrossed, coming from different worlds, politically, socially and economically, yet their missions in life were somewhat similar. Kathy Kriger and Hatidza Mehmedovic each worked towards standing up against injustice, in their own ways, regardless of their backgrounds. Kathy Kriger, born Kathleen Anne Kriger, served as the United States’ diplomat in Morocco for several years, living what many would consider a comfortable life in a prestigious position. In the wake of September 11 and the

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