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World Literature Weekend: Hanan al-Shaykh with Esther Freud

Where: BP Room, British Museum, London, UK

The leading Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh’s most recent novel, Only in London, was shortlisted for the 2002 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Also a short-story writer and playwright, she pays particular attention in her work to women’s role in society and the relationship between the sexes. Hanan was just seven years old when her mother, Kamila, sought a divorce from her father, who ran a strictly religious household. She will discuss her memoir The Locust and The Bird: My Mother’s Story with Esther Freud, the author of Hideous Kinky and The Sea House, whose work has been translated into 13 languages.

Hanan al-Shaykh is one of the contemporary Arab world’s most acclaimed writers. She was born in Lebanon and brought up in Beirut, before going to Cairo to receive her education. She was a successful journalist in Cairo and in Beirut, then later lived in the Arabian Gulf, before moving to London. She is the author of the collection I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops and her novels include The Story of Zahra, Women of Sand and Myrrh, Beirut Blues and, most recently, Only in London, which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. She lives in London.

Esther Freud was born in London in 1963. She trained as an actress before writing her first novel, Hideous Kinky, which was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was made into a feature film starring Kate Winslet. She has since written four other novels. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages. Her most recent novel was Love Falls.

Part of the London Review Bookshop’s World Literature Weekend.

Ticket prices include postage. Concessionary rates available for LRB subscribers, Friends of the British Museum, students and OAPs – please call +44 (0)20 7209 1141

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