Palestinian-Icelandic Author Mazen Maarouf Wins AlMultaqa Short Story Prize

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

الفلسطيني مازن معروف يفوز بجائزة (الملتقى) للقصة القصيرة في الكويت

 

من محمود حربي

 

الكويت (رويترز) – فاز الفلسطيني مازن معروف يوم الاثنين بجائزة (الملتقى) للقصة القصيرة العربية في الكويت في دورتها الأولى عن مجموعته (نكات للمسلحين) وقيمتها 20 ألف دولار.

 

وتتضمن المجموعة الفائزة 14 قصة قصيرة تسرد الواقع غير المنطقي من وجهة نظر طفل يعيش حياته اليومية في ظل حرب لا تتصدر موضوع القصص إنما تعتبره واقعا فانتازيا يعيشه الطفل ومن خلاله يقص المؤلف الرؤى الإنسانية والمفارقات والدعابات الساخرة.

 

والمجموعة الصادرة عن دار رياض الريس للكتب والنشر في بيروت هي الأولى للمؤلف الفلسطيني/الأيسلندي الذي ولد في لبنان عام 1978 لعائلة فلسطينية. وحصل معروف على بكالوريوس في الكيمياء من كلية العلوم بالجامعة اللبنانية وعمل لعدة سنوات بتدريس الكيمياء قبل أن يبدأ مشواره الأدبي في 2008 وصدرت له سابقا ثلاث مجموعات شعرية.

 

وقال معروف لرويتز بعد تسلمه الجائزة “لهذه الجائزة رمزية كبيرة لأنها ترد الاعتبار لأدب القصة القصيرة وهي تعزز المشهد الثقافي الفلسطيني وتكرم الكاتب الفلسطيني فأنا مولود في الشتات ولم أزر فلسطين إلا مؤخرا.”

 

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Palestinian Mazen Maarouf Al Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize in Kuwait

Kuwait (Reuters)- Palestinian Mazen Maarouf won on Monday, 5 December, the Al-Multaqa Arabic Short Story Prize of $20,000 in Kuwait. Maarouf received the first edition of the Prize for his collection “Jokes of the Gunmen”.

The winning collection includes 14 short stories that narrate the senseless reality from the point of view of a child living his everyday life amidst a war that is not the subject of the stories, but is rather seen as a fantasy reality the child lives and through which the author illustrates human visions, paradoxes, and sarcastic jokes.

The collection published by Riad El-Rayyes for Books and Publishing in Beirut is the Palestinian-Icelandic author’s first. Maarouf was born in Lebanon in 1978 to a Palestinian family. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the School of Sciences at the Lebanese University and worked as a chemistry teacher for a few years before starting his journey in literature and writing in 2008. He has three poetry collections published previously.

Upon receiving the Prize, Maarouf told Reuters that “this Prize has a major symbolic meaning as it brings back esteem to the short story, strengthens the Palestinian cultural scene, and honors the Palestinian writer; I was born in the diaspora and did not visit Palestine until recently.”

Read the full Reuters article by Mahmoud Harbi.

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Qomrah 2 logo

Qomrah 2 Call for Ideas: Your Chance to Create the Media You Want to See

Uncategorized, Writing

Yesterday, September 30 2016, was the award ceremony for the first season of Qomrah, Ahmad Alshugairi‘s new Ramadan show, which strives to create meaningful media through a competition of short videos anyone around the world can participate in. Some of the winning videos from season one covered themes such as hope, child refugees and autism. These are just a few of the themes that fit the categories of the first season.

This year, the chance to participate-and with that, the chance to win- is open to an even wider audience. Starting today, October 1st and until the end of this month, anyone with an idea for a video can send the details and if the team likes the idea, it will then be posted on the website for the second phase, where filmmakers can choose from the ideas suggested and be financed by Qomrah to create the video. If your idea wins, you have the chance to win up to 500,000 Saudi riyals.

The idea can be about anything from a work of art, to a social experiment or volunteer work and the categories include health and fitness, history, self-development, philosophy, technology and more.

So what are you waiting for? Think of something you’re passionate about and think it’s important for more people to know about and submit!

For more information: Watch the Qomrah 2 promo video and visit the Qomrah website and you can also watch the videos from season 1.

Bilal movie poster

Bilal: A Must-See

Uncategorized, Writing

The movie Bilal was released in Jordan cinemas this weekend and it should not be missed! This movie is inspired by the tale of Bilal ibn Rabah, Islam’s first Muezzin. Barajoun, the Dubai-based company behind this one-of-a-kind animation, sums up the movie’s premise as follows:

A thousand years ago, one boy with a dream of becoming a great warrior is abducted with his sister and taken to a land far away from home.

Thrown into a world where greed and injustice rule all, Bilal finds the courage to raise his voice and make a change.

Here are a few reasons why I loved the movie:

1-Beautiful animation– bright colors and rich details, whether in the depiction of the buildings, the desert or the characters, kept my eyes glued to the screen.

2- Universal ideals-Bilal tells the story of social justice and equality and tackles the issue of slavery, which affects and is a shared history among millions of people around the world. It also discusses themes such as family, brotherhood, conviction and freedom.

3- Relatable heroes- Though this is not the focus of the movie and is not made explicitly clear, Bilal and some of the other inspiring characters are Muslim and/or Arab characters. and this is important because they give viewers in the region, especially young ones, real heroes from their own culture, religion and history, that they can relate to and be proud of.

The feeling of empowerment, stronger faith and pride this movie made me feel are what I appreciated most about the movie.

What are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!

For more information visit the Bilal movie official website and Facebook page.

The Lonely Canary

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

photo (4)

In a big house, there once lived a lonely canary in a cage. The canary would sing every morning and delight the owners with his beautiful voice but when evening came, the canary felt lonely. One morning he woke up and found another canary with him in the cage. They became friends right away and were always together. They ate together, drank together and even sang together. The canary was so happy because he was no longer lonely.

The canary thought there was another bird in the cage, but actually, the owners had hung a mirror in his cage. The friend he saw eating, drinking and singing with him was just his own reflection in the mirror.

ridzdesign, 30 faces 30 places lebanon irusa

Ramadan Memories Shared by 30 Faces from 30 Places

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

The Muslim community is rich with diversity. This diversity in culture and tradition can be seen in the different ways people celebrate the holy month of Ramadan around the world. This Ramadan, Islamic Relief USA delivered food packages to 30 countries. To capture the unique ways Ramadan is celebrated in each of these 30 countries, Islamic Relief worked with photographer Ridwan Adhami. During this Ramadan, Adhami took photos of Muslims in the United States who originate from these 30 countries. Every day of the month, Adhami shared with the world a new photo and memory of Ramadan from a new country.

The countries range in culture and location from Zimbabwe and Albania to South Africa and Somalia. Also among the countries are those in the Middle East and North Africa region:  Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia and Sudan. Here are some of the photos and memories shared:

30 faces, 30 places tunisia ridzdesign ramadan

Day 4: Ramadan in Tunisia

“We had a revolution, but before that for over 20 years, hijab was against the law, and mosques were closed for the vast majority of the day. So there’s still not a lot of mosque life. I felt it. It’s always been a fine line, people tip-toeing around what’s allowed.”

30 faces, 30 places palestine ridzdesign ramadan

Day 9: Ramadan in Palestine

“The kids go out in groups with the lanterns. And it was safe, you never worried about bombs. It was so peaceful. We would take the lanterns and knock on doors. We would say, ‘wahaweeya wahawee’ and they would open the door and give us candy. Every night in Ramadan I looked forward to it.”

Day 11 entry Ridzdesign Imam Magid

Day 11: Ramadan in Sudan

“There’s a very nice tradition in Sudan where the people in the neighborhood would bring the food every night outside on the street and break fast in the street, and they would not allow anyone passing by to pass without sitting and eating. There would be some people who would stand in the road and insist for people to get off their buses and stop the cars to join the iftar, and they would insist for you to not be driving after sunset.”

30 faces, 30 places Day 13 Ridz design Souheil lebanon

Day 13: Ramadan in Lebanon

“Ramadan has a great flavor…different from any other time of the year.”

30 faces, 30 places syria ridzdesign ramadan

Day 14: Ramadan in Syria

“Every family would send a child before maghrib time to the neighborhood shop to get fresh falafel, hummus, and atayef. The most important thing is the atayef.”

30 faces, 30 places iraq ridzdesign ramadan

Day 21: Ramadan in Iraq

“It’s as if you are going back to live those beautiful memories. Although we share so many traditions and customs, there is something very special for each town, for each city.”

To view more photos and read more memories from the series visit Ridwan Adhami’s Facebook page, Instagram and the Islamic Relief USA website.

 

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on July 7, 2016.

WATCH: Leila Abdul Razzaq’s Graphic Novel “Baddawi”

BarakaBits

In this video by Judy Suh, we hear from Palestinian-American artist, Leila Abdul Razzaq, as she discusses her graphic novel “Baddawi’.

Last April, Leila Abdul Razzaq published her graphic novel, “Baddawi”, a story about her father growing up as a refugee in Baddawi, a refugee camp in Northern Lebanon. Like so many Palestinians, Leila’s family was forced to leave their town of Safsaf in Palestine in 1948 and find refuge in Lebanon, where her father spent his childhood before moving to the United States.

Although stories such as that of Ahmad, Leila’s father and main character in “Baddawi” are common among Palestinians in the diaspora, Leila explains that they are not as known to others which is why “Baddawi” is catered to a western audience.  She says, “People who are experiencing these adverse circumstances, they’re not objects of pity; they’re subjects of their own narrative”. She goes on to explain that she is not telling this story “because it’s unique but that it’s one that was lived and is being lived by Palestinian refugees.”

“Baddawi” has been shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards.

To order your copy of Baddawi click here. You can also follow Baddawi on Facebook.

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 06/09/2015.

Huda Baroudi and Maria Hibri, co-founders of Bokja Design Studio

Bokja Design Studio: Transforming Textiles and Furniture

BarakaBits

Houda Baroudi and Maria Hibri got together in Lebanon in 2000 and combined their passions for vintage textiles and furniture. Together, they founded Bokja Design Studio, where new and vintage textiles are used to create vibrant handmade accessories and furniture pieces.

Bokja

These talented designers create beautiful pieces while giving back to the community. Their team is composed of local designers, artisans and carpenters. In addition, the textiles they use are sourced in the Middle East. On their website they say, “Bokja designs begin with a desire to share overlooked beauty in its most simple form, while capturing the essence of what it once meant and stood for. We layer history and memories while adding depth and dialogue to our work.”

Ursula-1(2)

Bokja has traveled to Kuwait, Milan, China and France. Their installations address world event while staying true to their design concepts and creating eye-catching pieces. One such piece is Arab Spring/Arab Fall, which was presented at Sultan Gallery in Kuwait. The piece shows two juxtaposed maps of the Arab world, each with a different message. The Arab Spring map uses an antique rug to show “the core values of the Arab culture that should be the bases of any new beginning”. In contrast, the Arab Fall maps uses imported jeans to represent “…an Arab world where imported fads and fast foods have replaced the timeless traditions and native delicacies.”

For more information: visit Bokja Design Studio’s website, blog and you can follow them on Facebook.

Do you know any other design studios in the region doing something different? Let us know in the comments below!

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 10/09/2015.