By Alex Mutter
Banipal, the preeminent English-language magazine for Arabic literature, has just released a particularly special 45th issue, one that not only marks Banipal’s 15th year of continuous publication, but also features writers from “all regions of Palestine.” Their timing, as always, is impeccable — particularly as the Gaza/Israel border is heating up.
The new issue features work from Palestinian writers Maya Abul Hayyat, Ala Hlehel, Ibtesam Azem, Eyad Barghuthy, Tamara Naser, Alia Saqqa, Raji Bathish, Isr’aa Kalash, Haneen Naamneh, Majed Atef, Ziad Khaddash, Einas Abdullah and Akram Musallam, along with poetry from Dalia Taha, Najwan Darwish, Basem el-Nabres, Tarek al-Karmy, Marwan Makhoul, Mahmoud Abu Hashhash, Reem Ghanayem, Yousef el-Qedra, Asma’a Azaizeh and Muheeb Barghuty.
“Nothing now is above criticism, or safely positioned inside the national decorum,” writes Anton Shammas in the issue’s introduction, and remarks on the “very special amalgam of young Palestinian voices, whose writing offers a new and refreshing literary map of that forsaken country, and whose almost unprecedented collective presence realizes a long over due literary dream.”
The issue also features pre-publication excerpts from new novels from Algeria, Syria and Lebanon, as well as guest literature from Vietnam and Romania. There is also a “major interview” with Mohammad Bakri, director of the film “Jenin, Jenin.”
The 45th issue can be purchased from Banipal’s website.