Writing Against the Grain

Ali Badr, Ghazi Gheblawi & Mona Kareem

Sat 15 July 2017, 12.30pm
British Library

Literature ·

(clockwise from left) Ghazi Gheblawi, Ali Badr and Mona Kareem.

(clockwise from left) Ghazi Gheblawi, Ali Badr and Mona Kareem.


Sat 15 July 2017, 12.30–1.45pm
Shubbak at the British Library


Single event ticket: £8 / £6 concs
One day: £16 / £14 concs
Both days: £24 / £22 concs
More info

British Library

Knowledge Centre
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
View on map

Related Events

1 July 2017

Words Without Borders publish newly translated works from a selection of groundbreaking festival artists

What do we mean by Arabic writing against the grain in 2017? What are the inspirations, and the challenges, for the engaged Arab writer today? How do the wider global context, regional events, national regimes, personal stories, and the myriad of other artistic influences shape their work? And what does it mean to be a literary activist? Syrian British writer Robin Yassin-Kassab hosts a lively conversation exploring all this and more with these three very different writers from across the region.

Novelist, poet and playwright Ali Badr was born in Baghdad. The recipient of several awards for his novels, his work has been translated into English (notably The Tobacco Keeper and Papa Sartre). Currently editor-in-chief of Marseille-based Arabic press Alca Books, Ali Badr has extensive experience of contemporary Arabic literary publishing.

Ghazi Gheblawi was born in Tripoli, Libya, where he studied medicine, and published his first works of fiction. He is the author of two collections of short stories in Arabic and published various literary works in English in several publications in the UK. He runs and hosts Imtidad Cultural Blog and Podcast, which focuses on literature and arts in Britain and the Arab world. He was recently appointed a trustee of The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature and was on the judging panel for the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing. He is currently an editor at Darf Publishers an independent publishing house based in London.

Mona Kareem is a poet-writer-translator based in New York. She is the author of three poetry collections, some of which have been translated into French, English, Spanish, Dutch, German, Farsi, Italian and Kurdish. Her published translations include Ashraf Fayadh’s Instructions Within and an Arabic selection of Alejandra Pizarnik’s poems.

Robin Yassin-Kassab is the author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, and The Road from Damascus, a novel.

Shubbak at the British Library is presented in partnership with the British Library with additional support from the British Council, The International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, The British Institute for the Study of Iraq, Modern Poetry in Translation, Words Without Borders and the Institut français du Royaume-Uni.

Shubbak Literary Collaboration

Words Without Borders Publication

Digital magazine Words Without Borders has published newly translated works including political nonfiction from Egyptian Basma Abdel Aziz; an extract of Nadia Alkokabany’s new novel about the Yemeni revolution; an extract of Mohamed Abdelnabi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted gay Egyptian novel; and a short play by seminal Libyan playwright Mansour Bushnaf. This special feature is now live on  wordswithoutborders.org.

Shubbak at the British Library

Part of Shubbak at the British Library – two days of inspirational Arab literature, including talks, panel discussions and workshops.
Find out more