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Video: Ahdaf Soueif Discusses Arab Literature at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Ahdaf Soueif, Egyptian activist and author of Cairo: My City, Our Revolution, took part in a panel discussion on “Maps of Love and Hate: Nationalism and Arab Literature” at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January. Soueif also recently attended the Kolkata Literary Meet and was interviewed by The Telegraph while in India.

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Chaired by Jonathan Shainin, the panel included Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun, Iranian-American author Reza Aslan and British-Palestinian author Selma Dabbagh. Mahim Pratap Singh from The Hindu wrote about the event and reported on Soueif’s discussion of whether or not Arab literature should be labelled as a category of its own.

Watch a video of the session:

“What bothers censorship is the representation of reality, and not reality itself,” Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun, who writes in French, said at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday.

“Sometimes, I am frightened at fiction as it seems more dangerous than reality. In the case of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie was not reproached for writing about Islam; he was reproached because being a Muslim, he was not supposed to have had such views about Islam. Similarly, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose shows the enemy of religion is laughing,” Mr. Jelloun said at a session called ‘Maps of Love and Hate: Nationalism and Arab Literature.’

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