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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Der Drachenprinz cover by Louiza Fröbe

“Der Drachenprinz” Welcomes Refugee Children to Germany

Uncategorized, Writing

In the last year, Germany has welcomed a great number of refugees. In addition to safe shelter and food many, especially children, need the emotional support to make sense of their new environment. This is where picture books like “Der Drachenprinz” (The Prince and the Dragon) by author Louiza Fröbe come in.

Every child arriving in Germany since September 15 of this year received a copy of the picture book. Through bright illustrations and the two young characters of the book, Lisa and Yasin, young refugee children and their families are introduced to everyday life in Germany from going to the supermarket to the transportation system and the German language. The book also offers German readers young and old insight into some cultural differences and how to welcome refugees in their communities, as modeled by Lisa and her mother.

This project is in partnership with the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, who distributed the books to the children, and Deutsche Welle, which produced the audiobook in nine different languages: Arabic, Dari, Farsi, French, Kurmanci, Pashto, Sorani and Turkish.

For more information visit the Drachenprinz website, where you can also hear the audiobook in the different languages!

Yaffa cover, nibal qundos

Translated Excerpt from Nibal Qundos’ Novel “Yafa: A Story of Absence and Rain”

Uncategorized

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We’re going deeper into Autumn. It seems winter’s coming early this year, fortunately for those of us whom rain brings so much joy; earthly beings that come alive with rain, their hearts fluttering. In thinking of happiness, I think about visiting Yafa on the first rainy day. She might open her door to me in the winter. Maybe she’ll need some company, someone to sit with in front of the fireplace on rainy evening.

Rain makes us more fragile,  more needing to confess.Its droplets tapping on our windows and pouring yearning into our hearts, make us in more need of a friend or a lover to share the craziness of dancing  under the rain with and walking for hours tirelessly. How beautiful it is to reward ourselves with a warm cup of coffee from an old coffee shop that still believes in the necessity of playing Fairouz in the early morning and to watch from behind glass windows the passersby in their winter coats and hats and others seeking shelter beneath their umbrellas. Those umbrellas whose existence I still think is silly.There is nothing more beautiful than the patter of rain drops  on our heads, grown tired by the summer and longing for a warm moment, like someone  wrapping you in their coat, holding your cold hands and breathing some warmth into them.

book cover

English Translation of an Excerpt of Rabai’ Al- Madhoun’s Novel “The Lady Is From Tel Aviv” ترجمة قطعة من رواية ربعي المدهون السيدة من تل أبيب

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

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Walid Dahman’s Story

Tomorrow morning Walid Dahman arrives in the Gaza Strip. His mother does not believe the news, considers it a rumor, a myth, just like the Palestinians’ return to their land.

Every morning she asks,”I wonder if my son will return, if I’ll see him before I die so I can tell him all that I’ve kept from him and he can tell me all I haven’t heard”. She’s been asking that question over and over again for 38 years. She listens carefully to the whispers of the wind and the echo of the question. She gathers her disappointment and folds it with the bedsheets. And in the evening, she goes to bed with the disappointment and wakes to the question. When Walid called her, she almost heard his voice in London, “I’m coming to Gaza… I’m coming back home”. She didn’t believe him. She became fevered and trembled at the surprise,”What would bring you back after being away for so long?”.

Walid arrives at around nine. His visit is no longer an idea or merely a possibility. He had bought a ticket to Tel Aviv, picked his time of arrival so he could be at his mother’s at that exact time so that they could have breakfast together. He said she’d been preparing it for 38 years and it is time to have that meal.

He carried his big suitcase, hung a smaller bag on his left shoulder, put his British passport in the his shirt pocket, right where his heart is. He closed the door behind him and left.