We Wrote in Symbols cover and profiles
(clockwise from top left) Jena Al-Ansari; Sabrina Mahfouz (photo: Greg Morrison); Laura Hanna; Saeida Rouass; Selma Dabbagh (photo: Francesca Leonardi).

Join us for the launch of We Wrote in Symbols, a collection of writing on love and lust by Arab women writers edited by Selma Dabbagh and published by Saqi Books.

It is a little-known secret that Arabic literature has a long tradition of erotic writing. Behind that secret lies another – that many of the writers are women. We Wrote in Symbols celebrates the work of 75 of these female writers of Arab heritage who articulate love and lust with artistry and skill. From a masked rendezvous in a circus, to meetings in underground bars and unmade beds, there is no such thing as a typical sexual encounter, as this electrifying anthology shows. 

On the night, compere Jenna Al-Ansari will be in conversation with writers including Sabrina Mahfouz, Selma Dabbagh, Laura Hanna and Saeida Rouass about their work, sharing how they convey the complexities and intrigues of desire. 

Jena Al-Ansari is a Bahraini/British writer, living in London. Her original television series The Moderators is currently in development with Hat Trick Productions.

Sabrina Mahfouz is a writer and performer, raised in London and Cairo. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and resident writer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Selma Dabbagh is a British Palestinian writer whose debut novel Out of It (Bloomsbury) was a Guardian Book of  the Year. She is the editor of We Wrote in Symbols.

Laura Hanna is a British-Egyptian writer, performer and theatre maker from London.

Saeida Rouass is an author from London. Her novels Eighteen Days of Spring in Winter and Assembly of the Dead were both published by Watchword in 2015. 

Founded in 1983, Saqi Books is a leading independent publisher of books on the Middle East and North Africa. 

انضموا إلينا لحضور حفل إطلاق كتاب "We Wrote in Symbols"، وهو مجموعة من الكتابات عن الحب والشهوة لكاتبات عربيات من تحرير سلمى الدبّاغ ونشر دار الساقي.

سر لا يعرفه كثيرون هو أن الأدب العربي يتمتع بتاريخ طويل من الكتابة الإيروتيكية، ويكمن خلف هذا السر سر آخر هو أن العديد من كتّابه نساء.

يحتفي كتاب "We Wrote in Symbols" الأدبية بأعمال 75 كاتبة من أصول عربية يكتبن عن الشهوة والحب ببراعة ومهارة، من موعد تنكّري في سيرك إلى لقاءات في حانات تحت الأرض وأسرّة غير مُرتّبة، فلا يوجد شيء اسمه لقاء جنسي نموذجي كما يتضح من هذه المجموعة المثيرة.

ستجري مقدمة الحفل جنّة الأنصاري في هذه الليلة حوارًا مع كاتبات من بينهن صابرينا محفوظ وسلمى الدباغ ولورا حنّا وسعيدة روّاس حول عملهن وكيفية تعبيرهن عن تعقيدات الرغبة وغوايتها.

جنّة الأنصاري كاتبة بحرينية بريطانية تعيش في لندن، ويجري حاليًا إعداد مسلسلها التلفزيوني الأصلي The Moderators مع شركة Hat Trick Productions.

صابرينا محفوظ كاتبة وفنانة نشأت في لندن والقاهرة، وهي زميلة الجمعية الملكية للأدب Royal Society of Literature وكاتبة مقيمة لدى مسرح Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

سلمى الدبّاغ كاتبة فلسطينية بريطانية كانت روايتها الأولى "غزة تحت الجلد" (صدرت عن بلومزبري للنشر) كتب الغارديان للعام، وهي محررة كتاب "We Wrote in Symbols".

لورا حنّا كاتبة وممثلة ومنتجة ومخرجة مسرحية مصرية بريطانية.

سعيدة روّاس كاتبة من لندن صدرت روايتاها "ثمانية عشرة يومً من الربيع في الشتاء" و"جمعية الموتى" عن دار Watchword للنشر في عام 2015.

تأسست دار الساقي في عام 1983 وهي دار نشر رائدة ومستقلة للكتب المعنية بالشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا.

Jenna Al-Ansari is a Bahraini/British writer, living in London. Jenna’s original television series The Moderators is currently in development with Hat Trick Productions. She is enrolled in the Soho Theatre Writing Lab’s 2020/2021 cohort; and a member of the BAFTA Crew 2020/2021 cohort. Jenna’s writing was shortlisted this year for the Screenshot Award, run by South of the River Pictures and Sister Pictures.

Selma Dabbagh is a British Palestinian writer whose debut novel Out of It (Bloomsbury) was a Guardian Book of the Year. Her fiction has been published in Granta and Wasafiri and translated into a number of languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French. Dabbagh has also worked on film scripts and as a writer for feature films and radio plays and her BBC R4 play The Brick was nominated for the Imison Award. She is the editor of We Wrote in Symbols.

Laura Hanna is a British-Egyptian writer, performer and theatre maker from London. She has a degree in English Language and Literature and trained at LAMDA. Her published work includes Egypt, A Story (A History of Water in the Middle East, Methuen Drama, 2019) and All the Things I Hear (Sounds of Isolation) in Heartache and Hope; Voices of a Pandemic (Birch Moon Press, 2020).

Sabrina Mahfouz is a writer and performer, raised in London and Cairo. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and resident writer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Her most recent theatre show was A History of Water in the Middle East (Royal Court). Her edited collections include The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write (Saqi Books, 2017) and Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making It Happen (The Westbourne Press, 2019). Her non-fiction debut is These Bodies of Water (Tinder Press, 2022).

Saeida Rouass is a novelist from London. She is the author of Eighteen Days of Spring in Winter and Assembly of the Dead (Watchword, 2015), and has contributed to anthologies The Ordinary Chaos of Being; Tales from Many Muslim Worlds (Penguin Random House SEA, 2019) and Our Morocco. Her work has been published in The Independent, Media Diversified, Newsweek and Skin Deep. She is a 2019 Churchill Fellow for her work exploring gender and white supremacy in the USA.

Presented in partnerships with Saqi Books and Rich Mix.

Details

Thur 15 July 2021

7.30pm (show 8pm)

90 minutes.
Suitable for 16 years+
BSL interpreted.
Rich Mix is a fully accessible venue.

Tickets

£10 adults, £8 concessions
Contact the venue for tickets and further information.
020 7613 7498

Book now

Rich Mix

35-47 Bethnal Green Road
London, E1 6LA
richmix.org.uk
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We Wrote in Symbols will be available for purchase after the event and there will be a book signing.