Bulaq 39: Writers Are Not Magic

عن الحلقة

In the first half of the episode, we paid tribute to Jordanian poet, activist, novelist, travel writer, and editor Amjad Nasser (1955-2019), who died at the end of October. In the second, we talked about the political space occupied by Moroccan-French writers Tahar Ben Jelloun and Leïla Slimani, particularly in the wake of the trial against—and pardon of—Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni over an alleged abortion. What is a writer’s responsibility in a society, or between societies? And what about those of us who talk about, report on, and frame literature? (This episode partly recorded and produced in the offices of the Sowtnetwork). 


A short English-language tribute to Amjad Nasser on ArabLit, and a longer one in Arabic on 7iber.

Nassar’s recent poems are available on Facebookbutnot yet in translation.Other poems have been translated by Sinan Antoon and Fady Joudahand by the Poetry Translation Center. 

The letter in Le Monde, co-composed by Slimani, « Nous, citoyennes et citoyens marocains, déclarons que nous sommes hors la loi,» and also the pieces about Slimani in The New Yorkerand LitHub. Since we aired the episode, another fawning profile of Slimanihas been published in Le Monde.

Tahar Ben Jelloun, writing in Le Point: “Vous, obscurantistes, êtes en train de prendre le Maroc de la modernité en otage.”

Also the criticism of both writers by Omar Brousky in Orient XXI.

Ursula’s editorial in the New York Timesabout the Hajar Raissouni case.

Ben Jelloun’s On Terrorism: Conversations with My Daughterwill be coming to English in February 2020.Land of No Rain

By Amjad Nasser

The Perfect Nanny: A Novel

By Leila Slimani