Pick Your Team

About Episode

In which Ursula and Marcia discuss how much innocence American can claim when abroad, and the urge to write expatriate diaries in one’s twenties; they also talk about the new collection Marrakech Noir; and about the never-ending debate over Classical versus Colloquial Arabic. Show notes: Ursula’s “Innocence Abroad” responds primarily to Suzy Hansen’s Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World.  Marrakech Noir, ed. Yassin Adnan,is the third Arab city to join the Akashic Books series, following Beirut Noir and published simultaneously with Baghdad Noir. The Marrakesh collection features stories by lesser-known writers like Hanane Derkaoui, whose “A Way to Mecca” has some particularly fun moments, as well as heavyweights like Mahi Binebine, Mohammed Achaari, and Fouad Laroui—whose short-story collection The Curious Case of Dassoukine's Trousers was translated by Emma Ramadan. Fouad and Emma previously talked with MLQ about the collection and about writing in Moroccan Arabic.  Hossam Abouzahr, who runs the excellent “Living Arabic” project, also wrote “Standard Arabic is on the Decline: Here’s What’s Worrying About That.” In part, it responds to Elias Muhanna’s much-discussed New Yorker essay on “Translating ‘Frozen’ into Arabic.” Jeremy Harding wrote in the LRB about writing workshops in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine. Two fun, free Arabic-learning apps for young childrenare “Antura and the Letters” and “Feed the Monster.” The Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature also recognizes a “digital book app” category each year. Mohamed al-Bisatie’s World Cup novel is Drumbeat. James Murua first had the idea of creating a writers’ team for the World Cup, using the hashtag #AfricanWriterWorldCupSquad.