Renegade Writers: A Dialog with Hisham Bustani, Naomi Shihab Nye, Thoraya El-Rayyes

From the Apogee Journal blog, Perigee.

3- Ezz Aldiyn Mujuwby Square - The Dancer (2)The following is a “round-email” discussion between Issue 4 contributors– Author Hisham Bustani and Arabic to English translator Thoraya El-Rayyes– with Poet Naomi Shihab Nye.  Their communication investigates experimental form, the commodification of art, and questions what literature can, and should, give to the world.  A special thanks to Apogee Staffer F. T. Kola who made this possible.

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Cecca: Dear Naomi, Thoraya, and Hisham, It is my pleasure to put the three of you in touch.  This is all a bit of an experiment. Thanks for being willing to give this a go.  I have a couple questions I’ll throw out to set this dialog in motion: I was really taken by Hisham’s form. “The City is in My Chest”  begins as a nonfiction narrative that slowly transforms into a work of fiction. It strikes me that in the US there is a lack of experimentation with form in prose.  I am interested to know more about the author’s stylistic choices. And, as you are all aware, in the US there is a near blackout of non-anglophonic literature. In your opinions, what does contemporary Arab literature look like?

Read the full dialogue…