Thursday, June 20, 2013

'Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus' launched at the Mosaic Rooms in London

In the past two years a variety of books on the Arab revolutions have appeared in English. They range from "instant histories" based on tweets to the accounts of journalists who covered the uprisings. 

The book Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus published recently in London by IB Tauris is different from other books so far on the Arab revolutions. It is a unique collection of substantial essays on the revolutions by eight authors from different Arab countries (excerpts are on the IB Tauris website). All but one of the essays were completed between May and December 2011. Wishful Thinking by Saudi journalist Safa Al Ahmad is dated September 2012.

The essays were specially commissioned by the editors: activist and writer Layla Al-Zubaidi, who is Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in South Africa and was previously based for the Böll Foundation in Beirut and Ramallah; journalist and photographer Matthew Cassel, who covers the Middle East for Al Jazeera English and is former Assistant Editor of The Electronic Intifada; and literary agent and writer Nemonie Craven Roderick .

The introduction to the collection is by the renowned Syrian writer, journalist and activist Samar Yazbek. In 2012 Yazbek won the PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage prize, and the PEN Tucholsky Prize in Sweden, for her book  A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution (Haus, 2012). This year she won the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression.

Yazbek writes: "These revolutions pre-empted the process of revolutionary and intellectual theorizing, and yet now wait on a new form of literature to describe them: a writing forged in the present moment." The essays "vary between the personal and the general, but all express a single point: that writing at a time of revolution is part of the process of change. Moving between the subjective and the dispassionate, they offer us examples of heroism and of hope for the future."

L to R: Matthew Cassel, Layla Al-Zubaidi, Nemonie Craven Roderick and Mohamed Mesrati

At an event on Writing Revolution at the Mosaic Rooms in London, Nemonie Craven Roderick said: "I don't think it's inappropriate to invoke Walter Benjamin who, when he felt there was a need for a new kind of historical writing, said it should be by those who can bear witness to change at a moment of risk or danger. That's what the contributors to this book have done, and the essays are incredibly striking. They are certainly very personal, and passion really flies off the page."

The excellence of the book was recognised when it won an  English PEN Writers in Translation Award 2013 last November. The awards provide publishers with funds to promote and market the winning books.

Craven Roderick said it is hoped that, following its publication in English, there will be various foreign editions of Writing Revolution. It already has a Turkish publisher, Metis, which was co-founded by "an amazing courageous publisher Müge Sökmen - a wonderful woman." She added: "We are in conversation with a few Arabic publishers."

The evening at the Mosaic Rooms was one of several UK events to mark the launch of Writing Revolution. There were events at the Hay Festival,with English PEN's director Jo Glanville; at the Frontline Club in London, chaired by journalist and writer Rachel Shabi;  and at St Anne's College, Oxford University, organised by Oxford Student PEN.

On 28th June there is an opportunity to hear contributors Mohamed Mesrati of Libya and Malek Sghiri of Tunisia when they appear at The Rich Mix in London as part of the Shubbak Festival of contemporary Arab culture.

At the Mosaic Rooms Mesrati appeared alongside the book's editors. Layla Al-Zubaidi said: "For us the aim was to get out some of the voices that usually wouldn't be translated: some of the authors have never been translated into English and some have never written anything, even in their own languages."

She said that although journalism and the activities of foreign reporters have been important, "we felt that it's also important to hear people who are actually engaged in the revolutions writing about themselves in their own language. We wanted them to write in a literary fashion so that we wouldn't have the same as is found for example in blogs or newspapers."

Craven Roderick highlighted the vital role of translator Robin Moger, who translated five essays and Yazbek's introduction from Arabic to English. She noted that Moger is also translating Mesrati's novel-in-progress Mama Pizza and his other work, and is  "incredibly excited" about his writing.

Algerian journalist Ghania Mouffok wrote her essay  We Are Not Swallows in French; it was translated to English by Georgina Collins. Safa Al Ahmad and Egyptian journalist and writer Yasmine El Rashidi submitted their contributions in English.

Al-Zubaidi said the editors had wanted to make sure that the contributors were really honest about their weaknesses and doubts: "If you read the essays you can read a lot of doubt and sometimes also fear about the future. We felt it is extremely difficult in that milieu to find people who really express themselves very honestly... we didn’t want to have political messages, we really wanted to have personal stories with all their kind of conflicting identities, opinions etc."  

Matthew Cassel pointed to the limitations of journalism, with journalists having to meet limits such as word count and deadlines, and increasingly relying on "a small number of elite experts who have made a career out of analysing events in the Middle East."

He said: "That's exactly why I think we need more voices who at least couple the journalism with the voices on the ground to really give us the depth, the detail about what’s happening on the everyday. If we just follow the news we’re not really going to get a full picture of what’s happening in these countries."

The Mosaic Rooms event was enhanced by readings from Writing Revolution by actors Sam West and Jonjo O'Neill. Belfast-born Jonjo O'Neill read from Mesrati's essay Bayou and Laila in his warm Irish accent. Sam West gave a powerful reading from Bahraini activist, critic and author Ali Aldairy's essay  Coming Down from the Tower.

Mesrati completed his wide-ranging essay in exile in London in May 2011 while the Libyan revolution was raging, its outcome far from certain. He said: "When I wrote it I thought it was going to be the last thing I'm going to write, because at that time I was going back to Libya."

Nemonie Craven Roderick and Mohamed Mesrati

Bayou and Leila is named after Mesrati's parents, opponents of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. They fled Libya with their children in 2005 and were eventually given asylum in the UK. Mesrati was 21 when he wrote his essay. At the time he was beginning to make a name for himself as a writer of short stories, and an excerpt from Mama Pizza had been published in April 2011 in Banipal 40's special feature on Libyan Fiction (Mesrati talked about his life and writing in this interview).

Knowing the essay might be his last-ever piece of writing, Mesrati tried "to deliver many messages - to tell the story of my parents in opposition, and to tell the story of my friends, and to say what I wanted to do in this life, and what I wanted to write, and all the dreams that I wanted to come true - but there was only one thing I had to do, to go back there and be among all the rebels and join the fighters."  He felt he needed to put into the essay "all the novels I'd like to write in the future, and all the essays".

Mesrati's wide-ranging essay begins with his being "born into history" in Tripoli in 1990, when Libya was suffering under the sanctions imposed after the Lockerbie bombing. With humour and precision he conveys the flavour of life as a child growing up under the Gaddafi regime as part of "a generation born from our fathers' defeats." In art classes pupils would illustrate "tragic and deeply dull themes like 'Spring', 'The Joy of the Libyan People at the Revolution', or 'Cleansing the British camps from the Homeland's Soil'. Not once were we asked to draw a loved one's face or our parents."

He and his four deareset friends Khairi, Altakali, Baaisho and Faris got up to mischief and played schoolboy pranks.  But there were undercurrents of fear. Mesrati's father was an actor and theatre producer, but the regime's repression, censorship and paranoia severely curbed artistic freedom. He earned his living working in the oil industry.

Young Mohamed's favourite childhood story was The Elephant, O Ruler of Time! which his father would tell him with "his rich radio voice and his theatrical gestures." Only some years later would Mesrati fully grasp the desperate truths about Libya and its ruler Colonel Gaddafi symbolised in the story.

 Jonjo O'Neill

Mesrati's essay takes a chilling turn when he depicts the horrific days when his student father and schoolgirl mother witnessed the terror of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Students were crushed and  some were publicly hanged.

When the Libyan uprising started on 15 February Mesrati re-established from the UK contact with his childhood friends Khairi, Baaisho and Altakali in Libya (Faris had been killed in a car crash). He received daily reports from them which he circulated on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. The three friends went to fight for the revolution. On 21 February 2011, "the day of sadness, the day the cross of tears was lowered across my back", Mesrati learned that they had been killed.

Mesrati's essay concludes: "This story doesn't end here. The truth is that there are many stories that need to be told ... this is a people that have borne the weight of enough stories to fill all the novels and films you could wish for. To be continued..."

Mesrati is now working on a film, The Morganti Rebels, with Lebanese director Nisrine Mansour. The film tells of four friends who were on the frontline during the revolution and launched a coffee shop in the heart of Misrata. "They have a library and they are doing gigs every Thursday and they have literary events and a place for discussions. Many intellectuals, writers and activists after the war started to go regularly to that coffee shop. We would like in this film to focus on art activism in Libya after the war and how culture and art are the only things that can make a change in society."

Ali Aldairy participated in the uprising in Bahrain but now lives in exile, founding the  online Arabic newspaper Mira'at al-Bahrain (The Bahrain Mirror). He was unable to attend the UK launches of Writing Revolution, but at the Frontline Club event he was represented by his friend and fellow Bahraini activist Ali Abdulemam. Abdulemam was one of the first to agree to contribute to Writing Revolution, but he then went into hiding for two years and the book's editors lost touch with him. He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison and recently fled from Bahrain to the UK where he has been granted political asylum.

Aldairy gives a vivid account of participating in the uprising, which was met with violence by the security forces. He writes that the Bahrain revolution is about two things: state and sect. "How does a sect make the transition to a state? How does the state become a system of governance capable of incorporating a number of sectarian gropus with different (if not openly contradictory) cultures, interests and historical narratives?"

He recalls the funeral on 18 February 2011 of engineering student Ali Ahmad al-Mumin, shot in an attack by security forces on Pearl Square. Al-Mumin's final entry on his Facebook page was: My blood for my country. "Six hours later his words became reality, a truth that stunned his father, mother and six siblings when they received news of his martyrdom." Looking at al-Mumin's Facebook page "my senses were penetrated by his glowing image. I sat frozen before the picture: from its depths something was calling me to write about him."

Aldairy wrote an article for an-Nahar, addressing the dead student. "I see you in every young man I met" he wrote. University students copied the article and made it into a booklet which was distributed in Pearl Square. Aldairy was overwhelmed when Al-Mumin's father phoned him, and when later on he met the student's brother.

 Sam West

Saudi journalist Safa Al Ahmad writes perceptively of her visits to Arab countries in the throes of revolution, intercut with highly critical observations on Saudi Arabia. She begins: '"I'm Saudi. I'm sorry.' It's a phrase uttered at every introduction in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, not so much in Libya. Whisper it to myself in Bahrain."  Sitting with Yemeni women who are discussing revolution she feels they are decades ahead of Saudi Arabia on women's rights and civil society. In her Cairo hotel room she experiences "full-on revolution jealousy and depression".

 Layla Al-Zubaidi said that in their essays the contributors to Writing Revolution reflected on their own roles and "described what has led up to the revolutions so that people realise the revolutions didn't actually fall from the sky." The contributors had already invested much time and energy in political change before the uprisings began.

The Tunisian activist, trade unionist and student leader Malek Sghiri is from a long line of activists: his father was a political prisoner for a total of seven years under the Bourguiba and Ben Ali presidencies. In  Greetings to the Dawn: Living Through the Bittersweet Revolution  he writes of how during the revolution he and his comrades were horribly tortured at the Ministry of the Interior. His interrogator told him: "In 1991, inside this building but in a different room, I was one of those who interrogated your father."

Egyptian journalist and author Yasmine El Rashidi writes in  Cairo, City in Waiting of leaving her grandmother's Cairo house, in which she had grown up, to go and study in the  US in 1997. On visits back to Egypt she saw Cairo becoming "downtrodden and dim".  In summer 2010 she realised something was shifting, and later she was an eye-witness to the revolution: "... my memories of the 18 days, the revolution, are mere fragments of a larger journey and search that I now wait to complete."

 Matthew Cassel and Layla Al-Zubaidi

In  The Resistance: Armed with Words Yemeni journalist, poet and author Jamal Jubran writes as a Yemeni who was born in Eritrea to an Eritrean mother. On going to live in Yemen as a boy he suffered racism and was teased for his less than fluent Arabic. But he then had a revelation: "My talent for writing in Arabic would be my ticket out of the terminal state of weakness and vulnerability that left me exposed to daily humiliations."

Jubran has endured a series of vicissitudes, personal and political. After the unification of Yemen in 1990 he worked for a socialist newspaper. Then in the disastrous civil war of 1994 the Socialist Party was defeated. He eventually became a lecturer in the French department of a university, but then found his name on a hit list of an extremist party's "enemies of Islam". He became emboldened by a group of young journalists who championed  honest writing and freedom, and in his articles he expressed in particular his anger at the prospect of president Ali Saleh passing power to  his son Ahmed. Around the time students started to demonstrate for the removal of the president, Jubran was dismissed from his post at the university.

When the "Arab Spring" reached Yemen Jubran found it painful that certain Arab writers and intellectuals "found it hilarious that such a thing should be attempted in Yemen, and regarded our young people as poorly equipped for a revolution when compared with their contemporaries in Tunisia and Egypt."  Many were killed but "we did not fire a single bullet in response." He lost many of those he knew and feels bad about not joining the demonstrators in the revolution. "I did nothing but write."

Algerian journalist Ghania Mouffok's essay  We Are Not Swallows is a reminder of Algeria's painful history. "This epic has gone on for 130 years" she writes. When she takes her son on demonstrations  "it's not to teach him anything, but to show him that being a citizen of Algeria can be joyous, chaotic and rebellious." Her essay has an elegiac tone. She writes: "We are not swallows. We're not just making spring but also winter, autumn and summer too, because we've been around for a long time."

Khawla Dunia is a Syrian lawyer, writer and researcher and a member of the editorial board of the Damascus Center for Theoretical Studies and Civil Rights. She is the author of several studies, and contributes to the Arabic website Safhat Suriya. And like Yazbek she is one of those Alawites (the sect to which President Bashar Assad belongs) to take a courageous stand for freedom.

Dunia's essay, an account of the uprising in its first 100 days after the killing of demonstrators in Deraa, has the apt title  And the Demonstrations Go On: Diary of an Unfinished Revolution. As Misrati does with Libya, she compares Syria to the republic of fear portrayed by George Orwell in his novel 1984. Her husband had already been imprisoned twice previously for his political activities, and he is arrested for a third time during the uprising. He suffers brutal torture in detention, its marks obvious when he is released on bail.

Dunia's words "where is the country heading? The future is is terrifying and obscure" are, unfortunately, as apposite today as when she wrote them.
report and photos by Susannah Tarbush

Sunday, June 16, 2013

'Unholyland': Aidan Andrew Dun's book of Palestine-Israel love sonnets launched at P21 Gallery London 20 June


From the P21 Gallery: 

The staff of the P21 Gallery invite you to our next Thursday Fringe session -

Night of the Poets Presents: 

The Launch of Aidan Andrew Dun's Critically Acclaimed Book Unholyland  [reviewed here ] -  a dark romance of the Shift, a love story at the crux of our time

Thursday 20 June
6.30-9 pm
Hosted by Moses Latif: actor, lyricist, DJ and Music Producer
RSVP essential:
£5 entry fee on the door

P21 Gallery 21 Chalton Street London NW1 1JD

Please see the attached invite. We very much look forward to seeing you there. 

Aidan Andrew Dun

Thursday, June 13, 2013

In honour of Khalid Kishtainy : an evening of humour, writing, music and painting at London's Iraqi Cultural Centre

report and photos by Susannah Tarbush 

 Waheda al-Mikdadi introduces Khalid Kishtainy

At an event held in his honour at the Iraqi Cultural Centre in Shepherd's Bush, West London on  the evening of 8 June, the Iraqi journalist, satirist, writer and painter Khalid Kishtainy spoke with candour and humour about his eventful and creative life. The event also marked the launch of his new book, an autobiography entitled Time in Iraq and England (Dar Al Hikma, London).

The evening was introduced by journalist Waheda al-Mikdadi, who paid fulsome tribute to Kishtainy's many achievements and contributions. Kishtainy thanked Waheda for her kind words and flattering phrases, which reminded him of "the Archbishop of Canterbury, when he was in a similar situation giving a lecture, and the chairman showered him with praise... the Archbishop came to the platform, paused for a while and said 'excuse me, I'm sorry but I have to make two prayers: one to ask the Almighty to forgive the chairman for all these flattering words, the other to pray to the Almighty to forgive me for having enjoyed all this flattery!'" Kishtainy continued: "In addition to these two prayers I make another one: that you will say these same things behind my back!"

'swerving between the worlds of word and paint'
Kishtainy was born in Karkh, Baghdad, on 10 October 1929. His father, Shakir Mahmud Kishtainy, was a teacher. A 12-page booklet on Khalid's life and works issued on the occasion of the evening begins: "With so many interests and talents, Khalid Kishtainy spent most of his life swerving between the world of the word and the world of paint. At the age of 18, he was busy writing poetry, like most educated young Arabs, and thought of improving his power of poetic description by studying painting, which prompted him to join the art department of the Fine Arts Institute in Baghdad." There he was coached by Faiq Hassan, a grand master of Iraqi art.

After spending five years at the Fine Arts Institute Khalid won a scholarship to study painting in London, where he was enrolled at Camberwell College of Arts, Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Central School of Art and Design. This period "influenced his entire life and opened his mind to Western thought." On returning to Baghdad, Kishtainy taught painting and theatre design at the Fine Arts Institute.

The evening honouring Kishtainy included the official opening in the Iraqi Cultural Centre's gallery of an  exhibition of paintings by him and by his daughter Jasmine Jones-Kishtainy. Jasmine was born during Khalid's first marriage: the booklet on Kishtainy tells of how "in some very unhappy circumstances, Khalid Kishtainy was separated from his only daughter, Jasmine, almost fifty years ago."

After a long and painful search he managed to trace her and re-established contact. To his surprise he found that she too had pursued a career in art, and had like him studied at the Central School of Art. 

Kishtainy's writing career began when he started writing for the Lebanese magazine Al-Adab during his time in England. He has written some 34 books in Arabic and English, and has a widely-read and highly-appreciated columnist in the London-based newspaper Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper. He recently started to write a well-received satirical column for the London-based Middle East monthly magazine, and contributes to various other publications.

A selection of Kishtainy's books in Arabic and English was displayed on the glass table in front of him at the Iraqi Cultural Centre. One of his books, Arab Political Humour (Quartet Books 1985), was a particular favourite of the late renowned scholar of International Relations and of the Middle East Professor Fred Halliday, who regularly commended it to audiences.

Kishtainy's other books in English include The New Statesman and the Middle East (Palestine Essays) published in 1972 by the Palestine Research Centre in Beirut; The Prostitute in Progressive Literature (Allison and Busby 1983); Tales from Old Baghdad: Grandma and I (Quartet 1997); Tomorrow is Another Day: A Tale of Getting By in Baghdad (Elliott and Thompson Limited 2003); By the Rivers of Babylon (Quartet, 2008), and Arabian Tales: Baghdad on Thames (Quartet 2012).

The Kishtainys are a highly talented family. The evening at the Iraqi Cultural Centre included guitar performances by one of Khalid's two sons, Adam, who is an accomplished musician and a music therapist. Introducing Adam, Khalid said there was nothing more fitting for a beginning to the evening than "the mistress of all the arts, music". Adam gave a beautiful performance of  Isaac Albeniz's famous composition Asturias.  

 Adam Kishtainy

"You may wonder why I brought him here," Khalid said, joking that Adam's music therapy might be needed in case the audience were shocked when they read his latest book Time in Iraq and England.

Sitting in the audience was Britain's former ambassador to Iraq (in 1985-89) Sir Terence Clark. Khalid recounted how on a recent trip to Baghdad he and Sir Terence had been stuck in Al-Rashid  hotel in the Green Zone with little to do. He had noticed Sir Terence looking bored, and so gave him a copy of his new book, suggesting he read a few pages to pass the time. "The following day he came to me and said 'I spent the whole night reading this book and I tell you, it is a shocker!'" Kishtainy said readers might get a series of shocks from Time in Iraq and England, and "if you're not satisfied with that you can go to my short stories and you will have even more shocks. One of you may even faint and collapse, or get a nervous breakdown - and here is the music therapist to revive you."

 Adam Kishtainy prepares to "therapise" the audience

Introducing the second piece he performed Adam explained that music therapy - in which he did an MA, after a first degree in physics - is very diverse, and  that you can listen to music in a wide variety of ways. His second piece was an improvisation, as used in the type of therapy sometimes known as receptive music therapy in which the therapist actually performs the music. "So you are about to be therapised if that's OK - don't listen too closely - just let your mind wander and see if it takes you somewhere. I don't  know where this will go, but it's made up just for you tonight. " He embarked on a  delightful meditative improvisation that suggested Moorish influences.

The artist Emad Altaay (standing) at the unveiling of his portrait of Khalid Kishtainy

Adam's guitar performance was one of several surprises during the evening. Another was the unveiling of a portrait of Kishtainy painted by the Iraqi artist Emad Altaay. Altaay specialises in equestrian painting: "He came to one of my lectures and as he listened to me he said 'oh this man must be a horse' and he decided to paint me as a horse." The portrait is in fact an excellent likeness of Kishtainy.

In a wide-ranging, often amusing, account of his life and experiences Khalid revealed how his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1972, had encouraged him to write about his family and Iraq, and about his coming to England.

Looking back over his life Kishtainy said: "My real trouble is backing the wrong horse or, putting it plainly, espousing unpopular causes". In his latest book he recalls how as a child he saw peasants and their families and children pushing at each other while competing to get morsels of food his family had left behind after a picnic. That incident influenced him deeply:  "Poverty and the poor and the eradication of poverty became the theme of all my life - and it was a very unpopular theme which landed me in so many unpalatable situations."

In his young days Kishtainy became a communist, but he found the communists did not solve the problems of the poor. "I started writing against them, and turned the communists against me too. Being a communist in a Muslim country is bad enough but to have the communists against you as well...."  Another of his concerns was corruption and ways of tackling it. "I came to discover the only period Iraq was free from corruption was when Iraq was under the British mandate. Really the people who were more considerate to the poor and trying to help them were the British and not the Iraqi nationalist leaders who took over." Some time after this  "I went even further and wrote that the leaders of the sacred cow in the Arab world - the national liberation movement - are no more than a bunch of thieves."

Following this he began to address the question of Arabs and Jews and spent years studying the problem of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict, partly "as a result of my contact with Palestinians who were working with me in the BBC."  He wrote a dozen books on this subject, the last of which was the novel By the Rivers of Babylon. He and his publisher, Quartet, had high hopes for the book and "waited to see a great stampede for it, at least in Israel where we have a very big community of Israelis of Iraqi origin - but that hope did not materialise. The Arabs didn't like the book because it portrays a Jew as a noble man who risks his life to save a Muslim woman. The Jews, or most of the Jews, didn't like it either because there's a Palestinian who suddenly appears on the scene and says to an Israeli Jew 'this house you live in was the house in which I was born and spent my childhood'. Most of the Jews didn't like the mention of a Palestinian at all. As a result the book was boycotted in Israel as well."

Sir Terence Clark about to open the exhibition of paintings by Khalid and his daughter Jasmine

After Kishtainy's talk Sir Terence Clark cut the red ribbon to open the exhibition of paintings by Khalid and his daughter Jasmine. Khalid said that he still paints "with an impressionist's brush, and in a realistic fashion. Realism and impressionsm I adhere to - and they are out of fashion. I describe the bulk of modern art as humbug; all this stuff of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst is humbug and I wouldn't follow their track. This is another cause in which I lost, I am old fashioned and behind the times." His daughter happened to follow the same school of realism as he did, although in her case it is photographic realism. After graduating from the Central School of Art she did a Masters in History of Art at Nottingham and a further course at the Hochschule DerKünste, Berlin.

Khalid said visitors to  the exhibition would notice that some of the people in his paintings are wearing masks. "This was a stage in my career when I tried to express the theory of Dr Al Wardi who wrote a book about the duality or duplicity of the Iraqi character. There is always a dual personality for the Iraqi, and its not only Iraqi - in this country it's just the same." 

pictures at an exhibition

two of the "mask" paintings by Khalid Kishtainy
above and below, paintings by Jasmine Jones-Kishtainy

 Jasmine Jones-Kishtainy

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Iraqi writer, satirist & columnist Khalid Kishtainy appears at Iraqi Cultural Centre London 8th June 6.30pm

Khalid Kishtainy | The Man Entire
Khalid Kishtainy is a controversial man of many parts, author of some 34 books, journalist, artist, politician and gripping story teller. People often see one part of him, but this rare event, presents him in his entirety as he will talk about his life, his work and his ideas. It will be all supported by his autobiography, Time in Iraq and England, published last month and available at the Centre, as well as during the joint exhibition of his paintings and the paintings of his daughter, Jasmine. His son Adam Kishtainy will be playing guitar music.

 خالد القشطيني بكامل شخصيته خالد القشطيني شخصية متعددة الادوار والجوانب والاهتمامات. فهو مؤلف لنحو 34 كتابا، وكاتب ساخر، وصحافي و فنان و مفكر سياسي و قاص متمكن. قد لايعرف الآخرون عنه سوى جانب واحد، و لكن في هذه الأمسية المتميزة، سيظهر القشطيني متكاملا حيث سيتكلم عن حياته و اعماله و افكاره. و ستتوج الأمسية بأستعراض كتابه الجديد المتضمن سيرته الذاتية والصادر مؤخرا تحت عنوان " زمن في العراق وانكلترا" والذي ستتوفر نسخ منه خلال الأمسية وطوال فترة المعرض الشخصي المشترك للوحاته الفنية و لوحات ابنته ياسمين. وسيقدم السيد آدم القشطيني-أبن الأستاذ خالد- عزفا على القيثار.

6.30 pm Saturday 8 June
Iraqi Cultural Centre in London 
Threshold and Union House 
65-69 Shepherds Bush Green 
London W12 8TX

A review of Khalid's book of saucy London and Iraq stories: Arabian Tales: Baghdad on Thames (Quartet, 2012)

A review of Khalid's novel By the Rivers of Babylon (Quartet, 2008)