Essays and Features

Multi-Talented ‘Poet of Colors’ Magdy Naguib (1936-2024) Mesmerized Music Composers and Singers of Egypt’s Musical Golden Age

By 
Elie Chalala
 
The widespread reach of the Egyptian song and its artistic achievements, going beyond the Arab sphere to the rest of the world, owes its success to musicians, singers, and poets whose writings remain immortal today. Among them is the poet Magdy Naguib, who departed from the cultural scene on February 7, 2024, reports Al Habeeb Al Aswad in Al Arab newspaper. Hardly a moment goes by without news of the Arab cultural scene losing an artist, poet, songwriter, or other creative.

Postscript to ‘Indefinite Postponement’: Adania Shibli Breaks Silence on Frankfurt Book Fair Decision and Finds a Voice in the Absence of Words

By 
Naomi Pham
 
When the Frankfurt Book Fair announced last October the “indefinite postponement” of Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s award for her novel “Minor Detail,” outrage erupted among critics not just in the Arab world but globally, with numerous translators, publishers, and award-winning authors condemning the decision in an open letter.

Six Years After Publication, Zionist Protests Transform Adania Shibli’s ‘Minor Detail’ Into a Major Detail

By 
Elie Chalala
 
Arab reactions to the “indefinite postponement” of an award ceremony honoring Palestinian author Adania Shibli and her novel, “Minor Detail”  have ranged from ideological to radical, with several voices leveraging the October 16 decision by LitProm, the awards administrator of the Frankfurt Book Fair, as yet another reason to decry Western imperialism.

Farewell to Habib Sadek (1931-2023): Friend, Poet, and Exceptionally Honest Politician

Having Self-Exiled from the Turbulent World of Lebanese Politics, Sadek Dies Peacefully at 92
By 
Elie Chalala

Rarely do I get personal in my notebooks and essays, but this time I will. On July 1, 2023, I lost a friend in Lebanon whom I had known for more than four decades, and even longer if I count the years before I met him in person in Los Angeles. Habib Sadek (1931-2023) was a Lebanese intellectual, poet, author, head of the Cultural Council of Southern Lebanon, former parliamentarian, and, more importantly, someone whose support deeply impacted the early years of Al Jadid Magazine, for which I will always be grateful.

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