This month and next, we’re documenting the Arab Spring with literature from the countries of the uprisings. Following the sequence of events, we begin in North Africa with writing from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, and Tunisia. In fiction and polemic, poetry and reporting, writers offer insights both on the insurrections and the contexts in which they occurred, providing an invaluable perspective from which to consider this ongoing revolution.
We open with German Trade Prize winner Boualem Sansal’s tribute to Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian whose self-immolation set the events of the Arab Spring in motion. Activist Nawal El Saadawi provides a snapshot of the first days of the Egyptian uprising, and Miral al-Tahawy tells of a peasant girl carried off by the Chief of Bedouins. Laila Marouane, author of The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris, contributes a harrowing portrait of Algerian misogyny and oppression. Laila Neihoum presents a manifesto for Libya, while her countryman Fadhil Al-Azzawi opens a theme park for deceased dictators. From Sudan, poet Tarek Eltayeb considers recent history, and Amir Tag Elsir’s novice writer courts a pompous novelist. And from Tunisia, Cecile Oumhani interviews the publisher Elisabeth Daldoul, while poets Amina Said and Tahar Bekri speak of a country under siege. Next month we’ll turn to Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.
Elsewhere, our Man in Madrid series wraps up with Doménico Chiappe’s tale of an author turned ghostwriter, and Jonathan Blitzer’s illuminating interview with the author. And in poetry from three Latin Americans, Nicaragua’s Ernesto Mejía Sánchez keeps watch in a translation by William Carlos Williams, Mexico’s Olvido García Valdés reflects on the moon, and Argentina’s Horacio Castillo considers the Arctic.