x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A literary journey

Issue 42 of Banipal, the Arab literature periodical, celebrates writing from the Emirates.

Banipal 42
Various
Dh85

Issue 42 of Banipal, the Arab literature periodical, celebrates writing from the Emirates. First published in London in 1998, the magazine has since carved out a well-deserved reputation for both the timeliness and the thoroughness of its approach. Issue 40, for instance, concentrated on Libyan fiction and emerged as the uprisings were beginning.

Banipal 42 is an eclectic and energetic mix of fiction and non-fiction, essays, short stories, criticism and poetry, expertly collated by Margaret Obank and Samuel Shimon, and published with the support of the Emirates Foundation.

Of the gems these pages yield, and there are many, I would direct you to two pieces of fiction: Aisha Al-Kabbi's series of Very Short Stories, which are tiny, frail observances on life and the extract from Dhabiya Khamis's novel Life As It Is, in which her young protagonist Muhra flies from Abu Dhabi to the US to begin her studies. She wanders the streets of New York, only to be assaulted by questions from curious strangers: "Did you come to America on a camel?" There is no such thing as a small world in these pages.