Nov 20: Radical Foundations! Woman at Point Zero by Nawal el Saadawi
November 20th, Saturday
1pm New York | 8pm Cairo | 6pm London
This masterclass on Egyptian writer and feminist Nawal el Saadawi's groundbreaking book Woman at Point Zero is organized in collaboration with the Adabiyat Book Club.
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Published by Zed Books/Bloomsbury.
About the novel
Originally published in Arabic in 1975, el Saadawi's book was plagued with controversy from the very beginning. Woman at Point Zero was rejected by Egyptian publishers and eventually published in Lebanon. In spite of many conflicting interpretations or perhaps due to them, Woman at Point Zero remains an extraordinary, foundational and influential text of women's literature, Arabic literature, African literature and the canon of world literature.
Professor Samah Selim will convene this seminar. She will look at the controversies surrounding Nawal el Saadawi's groundbreaking novel in both its Arab and western contexts. We will undertake a close reading of the book in both its local and global contexts, and discuss the thorny question of feminism in translation. Marcia Lynx Qualey, founding editor of the Arab Lit cooperative, will also join us to discuss her her provocative essay on el Saadawi titled "Who You’re Reading When You’re Reading Arab Women."
We expect attendees to have bought and read the book, and be willing to engage in the online discussion. We will meet for 3 hours with breaks in between.
About the instructor
Samah Selim is an Egyptian scholar and translator of Arabic literature. She studied English literature at Barnard College, and obtained her PhD from Columbia University in 1997. Her most recent book, Popular Fiction, Translation and the Nadha in Egypt (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) looks at the cultural and literary politics surrounding the translation of the novel into Arabic at the beginning of the twentieth century. She is currently working on a literary biography of the Lebanese novelist and journalist Niqula al-Haddad. She is the recipient of the Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation (2009), the University of Arkansas Translation of Arabic Literature Award (2012) and the National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant (2018). She is currently working on an English translation of Jordanian author Ghalib Halasa’s 1987 novel Sultana.
Adabiyat is a virtual book club dedicated to exploring the Arab world’s history, politics, and culture through literature. Each month, the group reads a translated fiction book from the region, with an emphasis on diversifying countries and topics. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram