Women's Worlds Book Club: Pearls on a Branch, ed. by Najla Khoury (Lebanon, Arabic)
Penn Book Center Reading Group, 2018
2017 changed the conversation for women. From the Women's March to #MeToo and everything beyond and in between, popular culture is coming to a reckoning and women's voices are raised louder and stronger than ever. In an era of growing political nationalism, we want to turn our ears to the words and voices of women beyond our land and language. From the Caribbean to South Africa to Northern Europe, here are women's voices that reverberate in and beyond our urgent moment.
All texts are from Archipelago Books, a not-for-profit literary press devoted to promoting cross-cultural exchange through innovative classics and contemporary international literature in translation.
All meetings will be on the third Saturday of the month at 3 pm. Coffee and snacks will be provided.
About Pearls on a Branch: Oral Tales and Najla Khoury:
A collection of 30 traditional Syrian and Lebanese folktales infused with new life by Lebanese women, collected by Najla Khoury.
While civil war raged in Lebanon, Najla Khoury traveled with a theater troupe, putting on shows in marginal areas where electricity was a luxury, in air raid shelters, Palestinian refugee camps, and isolated villages. Their plays were largely based on oral tales, and she combed the country in search of stories. Many years later, she chose one hundred stories from among the most popular and published them in Arabic in 2014, exactly as she received them, from the mouths of the storytellers who told them as they had heard them when they were children from their parents and grandparents. Out of the hundred stories published in Arabic, Inea Bushnaq and Najla Khoury chose thirty for this book.
Najla Jraissaty Khoury was born in Beirut. In the 1970s, she taught at adult literacy programs and later trained pre-school teachers. Her work has been influenced by her experience in education and her interest in folk tales and children's literature. Najla Khoury founded and directed a puppet troupe and has developed several educational toys. In 1997, she helped found the NGO Assabil Libraries, which focuses on establishing public libraries throughout Lebanon.
Women's Worlds Year-Long Program
Dance on the Volcano, Marie Vieux-Chauvet (Haiti, French)
Love, Hanne Ørstavik (Norway, Norwegian)
Absolute Solitude: Poems, Dulce María Loynaz (Cuba, Spanish)
Moscow in the Plague Year: Poems, Marina Tsvetaeva (Russia, Russian)
Incest, Christine Angot (France, French)
The First Wife, Paulina Chiziane (Mozambique, Portuguese)
Pearls on a Branch, ed. Najla Khoury (Lebanon, Arabic)
The Expedition to the Baobab Tree, Wilma Stockström (South Africa, Afrikaans)
Dreams and Stones, Magdalena Tulli (Poland, Polish)
Cockroaches, Scholastique Mukasonga (Rwanda, French)
Angel of Oblivion, Maja Haderlap (Slovenia, German)
To Mervas, Elisabeth Rynell (Sweden, Swedish)
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