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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Women Writing from the Arab World: Dubai panel

Novelist and blogger Liz Fenwick reports from Dubai on a panel discussion featuring Mansoura Ez Eldin, Haifa Bitar, Sahar el-Mougy and Rajaa al-Sanea with Hani Nakshabandi that discussed the questions: “What are the implications of being a writer for Arab women? Can one speak of women’s literature as opposed to men’s literature?” The report is preoccupied with Fenwick's own reactions, but there are some real zingers that made me wish I'd been there to hear these four very different writers talk about their process. Haifa Bitar described her struggles with the Greek Orthodox Church in Syria, especially after her divorce, as:
being in a small room like a cage and they only way to turn the fear (the cage) into endless space was to write. She also said that writing for her was like having a photocopier for what was in her mind.

1 comment:

liz fenwick said...

I would love to see a transcript of the panel discussion as there were so many different things to take from it - the feminist issues, the writing ones, the censorship ones, the cultural ones, the difficulties reaching beyond the Arab world because of translation and finally one or two or the conversations post panel regarding Arab novels in general. I also found the facilator Hani very provocative and he set my teeth on edge several times with his comments. I stepped back from this as I didn't know it if was done deliberately or it was a cultural thing that i was unaware of.

Then I could go onto the audience which was packed.....

I hope that more people will blog/discussion this particular session as I think it is important and raised so many topics.

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