We Wrote in Symbols: Love and Lust by Arab Women Writers brings together fiction and poetry by more than 70 women over a span of more than 1500 years. Editor Selma Dabbagh talks about why it’s hard to write about sex, and the difficult balance of reaching readers.
The digital launch of We Wrote in Symbols, published by Saqi Books, is scheduled for April 29, hosted by the Arab British Centre. Hanan al-Shaykh, Yasmine Seale, Saida Rouass, lisa luxx, and collection editor Selma Dabbagh will be there. There will also be a workshop launch with Marina Warner, Wen-chin Ouyang, and Emily Selove at Birbeck in June, as part of their Arabic in Translation series.
The collection drew classic works from, among other places, two anthologies: Classical Poems by Arab Women: A Bilingual Anthology, edited and translated by Abdullah al Udhari, and The Poetry of Arab Women from the Pre-Islamic Age to Andalusia, edited and translated by Wessam Elmeligi.
Shereen El Feki’s Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World was published in 2013.
Leila Slimani’s Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women’s Intimate Lives in the Arab World was translated by Sophie Lewis and came out last year.
Lina Mounzer’s “Going Beyond the Veil” talks about navigating the rocky territory of writing about sex as an Arab woman.