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World Literature Weekend: Elias Khoury with Jeremy Harding

Where: London Review Bookshop, London, UK

Edward Said described Elias Khoury as an artist who gives ‘voice to rooted exiles and trapped refugees, to dissolving boundaries and changing identities, to radical demands and new languages’. Best known to English readers for his epic Gate of the Sun, Khoury’s new novel is Yalo, translated by Peter Theroux. Yalo is a soldier who becomes a deserter, thief, nightwatchman in Paris, arms smuggler, then rapist. The novel, a modern-day take on the Arabian Nights, revisits Lebanon’s sectarian civil war through a series of confessions extracted under torture. He will be in discussion with the author and journalist Jeremy Harding, a contributing editor at the LRB, who has written extensively on Khoury’s life and work.

Elias Khoury, one of the most distinguished writers and intellectuals in the contemporary Arab world, was born in 1948 in Beirut. He founded several literary magazines, served as the cultural editor of the Beirut daily al-Safir and edited the weekly literary supplement of the newspaper al-Nahar. He has taught at the American University in Beirut, Columbia University, and New York University. He was also the artistic director of the Theatre of Beirut for six years and co-director of the Ayloul Theatre Festival in Beirut. He is the author of eleven novels including Little Mountain, Gates of the City and The Journey of Little Gandhi, two plays which have been performed in Beirut, Cairo, Paris, Vienna, and Basel, and several volumes of critical essays and short stories.

Jeremy Harding is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books. He is the author of Small Wars, Small Mercies: Journeys in Africa’s Disputed Nations and The Uninvited: Refugees at the Rich Man’s Gate, a report on clandestine migrants and asylum seekers, originally published in the LRB. The Uninvited won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism in 2001. His translations of Rimbaud’s poetry were published by Penguin in 2004. His most recent book, Mother Country, was published in 2006. He has written at length in the LRB about the life and work of Elias Khoury and his epic novel Gate of the Sun.

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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