A celebration of 25 years of Banipal Magazine translating and publishing contemporary Arab literature in English is being held at 7pm on Wednesday 18 January 2023 at the Irish Cultural Centre 5 Black’s Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT.
This welcome collection contains twenty-seven short stories by six influential Spanish women writers, written over the past one hundred and twenty years. The translations are fluent and easily readable, the editing ‘light-touch’ and unobtrusive.
One surprising feature of the stories is the constancy of the themes they address. The stories concentrate on marginalized, frustrated women, their lives stunted by male prejudice and violence. While the formats change, the key issues remain.
Lack of time has meant that mastering the TBR&R pile has been a frustrating challenge this year. Many fantastic books have been published in 2022 by independent trade publishers championed via The BookBlast Diary over the years. The intermittent support is mightily appreciated of a couple of donors who stepped into the breach when official funding organizations turned us down not once but three times – apparently due to form filling-errors on our part, and our being based in London as opposed to the regions. Titles which caught the eye in 2022, listed in order of publication month, include:
LES FUGITIVES | The Child Who, Jeanne Benameur. Translated by Bill Johnston | 136pp May 2022 ISBN 978-1838490423
“In your head of a child there are sudden bright skies wrested from a low, lingering, unfathomable sadness. Your mother has disappeared. Never mind that she was never entirely present, it was her smell, her warmth, her silent hands, that you relied on to feel that you truly existed.”
What an odd post-pandemic year 2022 has been, deranged in so many ways, over and beyond the realities of Brexit hitting home, and the depressing normalization of exploitation by the Government and giant corporates across the board, as we enter “a different kind of recession where there are still lots of jobs but the recession is around our wages,” according to James Reed.
Afghan women have been in the news again since the Taliban have banned Voice of America, the BBC and Deutsche Welle after women students and teachers protested peacefully in response to secondary schools for girls being shut down. Writing in Afghanistan is once again a taboo craft for women.
As a schoolteacher put it: “The Taliban are scared of an educated girl. When a girl is educated, a family will be educated. And when a family is educated, a nation will be educated. Ultimately, an educated nation will never, ever nourish the motives of terrorists.” www.democracynow.org