Friday, May 18, 2012

A Month of Saudi Launches and Projects

Two novels, a book of poetry, and a film focusing on women in Saudi Arabia are coming to market this month. It's a wealth of new stories and characters. Clearly western audiences are hungry to know more about women in Saudi Arabia.

"Wajda," is the first feature-length film made in Saudi Arabia. It was directed by Haifaa Mansour, a Saudi woman from the Eastern Province. This is also her first feature length film, and is being shown at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It's about a girl who dreams of owning a green bicycle. Link to a Hollywood Reporter story about Haifaa and her film here.

Saudi poet Nimah Nawwab is currently in the U.S. on a reading tour in conjunction with the launch of her new book of verse in English, CANVAS OF THE SOUL, MYSTICAL POEMS FROM THE HEARTLAND OF ARABIA. Nimah comes from a long line of scholars from the city of Mecca. This is her second book of poems. While her poetry isn't particularly 'about' Saudi women, it's by a Saudi author, so I'm including it here. Her website has information about her book tour. She wrote to me today that she will likely be back in the U.S. to do more readings in the fall. Her website is here.

Two American authors have novels about Saudi Arabia launching this month:

Zoe Ferraris, the author of a popular series of literary mysteries set in Saudi Arabia has her third book KINGDOM OF STRANGERS coming out this month. The previous two, FINDING NOUF, and CITY OF VEILS, have been well received all over the world. I have been to two book discussions of FINDING NOUF and am thrilled to discover how much people learn about a culture from Zoe's books. The murder mystery format draws people right in, and gets them personally involved in Saudi's unusual society as they try to solve the crime. Here is a link to Zoe's latest book on amazon,  and her website is here.

Kim Barnes wrote IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, set in the Kingdom's Eastern province in the 1960's. The book explores the life of American expatriates working in the Kingdom's oil business. This one sounds interesting too! A link to it on and her website is here.

Good luck to all on their projects and books.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Relationship nicknames in Arabic

Over my decades of studying Arabic, living in the Arab world and playing Arab music, I've long been fascinated by the custom that some Arabs have in addressing people with whom they have a particular relationship. A teacher will call his student 'professor,' and a mother will call her son 'Mama.'

Below is a link to a great blog post by "Ginger Beirut" about this practice in Lebanon. While this article focuses the parental version of this practice, I've heard it elsewhere. For instance, a very distinguished musician friend of mine jokingly calls his music student "Maestro." So does the student then refer to his revered teacher as Father of missed notes - Abu Nashaz? Or is this practice just a one way street; is it to be used only by social superiors toward their inferiors?

Who's the daddy here?
- great blog post on this practice from Ginger Beirut.

If anyone has insight into this practice, please comment!