Book Reading & Discussion: Egyptian Novelist Sonallah Ibrahim

Mon, March 16, 2009 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Introduced by Professor Hala Halim and Reading in English by Tala Hadid

Free and Open to the Public

Sonallah Ibrahim was born in 1937. After studying law and drama at Cairo University, he became a journalist in Cairo until his arrest and imprisonment in 1959 as an advocate for the Left. Upon his release in 1964, he briefly returned to journalism in Egypt before moving to Berlin to work for a news agency and to Moscow where he studied cinematography. He returned to Egypt in 1974 and since then has dedicated all his time to writing.

Sonallah Ibrahim has written a number of novels and short stories, as well as a dozen children's books. He has also translated a variety of books into Arabic. His book Cairo from Edge to Edge is a rich and highly original portrait of a city as seen through the lens of French photographer Jean Pierre Ribire and Sonallah's pen.

Ibrahim is well known for his documentary novels that employ a literary style unique in Arabic writing. In 1998 his novel "Sharaf" was awarded best Egyptian novel. In 1999 he was a visiting associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies of the University of California at Berkeley. Sonallah's books have been translated into many languages. In 2004 Sonallah Ibrahim received the sixth IBN RUSHD Prize for Freedom of Thought at the Goethe Institute in Berlin


Tilka Al Raiha (The Smell of It)
Star of August, Syria 1974, Cairo 1986
The Committee, Beirut 1981, Cairo 1998
Beirut Beirut, 1984
Zaat, 1992
Sharaf, 1998
Warda, 2000.
Amrikanli, 2003
Al-talassos, 2007

For a short

Articles on Sonallah Ibrahim:

Hala Halim is assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Her research and teaching address a wide variety of issues, including contrasting accounts of heritage and urban spaces in relation to narratives of identity; translation studies and the practice of translation; questions of genre and "transculturation"; and comparative genealogies of cosmopolitanism. She has published on such subjects as the postcolonial redrawing of British educational policies in Egypt, the films of Youssef Chahine, E. M. Forster's Egyptian texts, and the translation and reception of Constantine P. Cavafy's poetry in Arabic. She is currently revising a manuscript entitled "The Alexandria Archive: An Archaeology of Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism" which identifies and critiques a Eurocentric, quasi-colonial paradigm of cosmopolitanism associated with Alexandria and seeks out alternative modes of inter-ethnic and inter-religious solidarity that speak to current postcolonial Middle Eastern imperatives. She has held an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCLA's Humanities Consortium, and her translation of a novel by Mohamed El-Bisatie, Clamor of the Lake, received an Egyptian State Incentive Award in 2006.

Tala Hadid was born in London and trained as a painter. She made her first full-length film, Sacred Poet, while she was studying as an undergraduate at Brown University. The film, a portrait of Pier Paolo Pasolini, includes interviews with Laura Betti, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Citti and Ninetto Davoli. The author of several short films, in 2001 she produced and directed a film in St Petersburg, Russia, with poets Genya Turovskaya and Vladimir Kucheriavkin. In 2005 Hadid received her MFA in Film Directing from Columbia, and completed her film, Tes Cheveux Noirs Ihsan. The film was awarded the 2005 Kodak/Cinecolor Prize and in June 2005 received a Student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It has won several prizes (including awards from the Global Film Initiative, the Milos Forman grant and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts). It screened at numerous Film Festivals around the world, including the New York Film Festival 2005, the Sundance Film Festival 2006 and the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran. In February of 2006 the film won the Panorama Best short Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Hadid’s work has also screened, among other venues, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C, the Photographer’s Gallery in London, the Cinematheque de Tanger, L’Institut du Monde Arabe and the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris.

Last updated: 2009-03-15 23:40:08

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