As a space that celebrates literature and the general art of the written word, it was only fitting to rejoice in the works of our local talents. As February is a month of commemorations here in Kuwait, we decided to take a look at its people and the fantastic works they’ve released. From poetry to fantasy to Arabic fiction, let us take a moment to admire what these local talents have penned.
To start off, we decided to revisit our favorite freelancer and published poet, Nejoud Al-Yagout. As an established poet in her own right, Nejoud’s anthologies delve deep into the psyche and exposes your deepest thoughts and emotions. With her debut release of This is an Imprint, Nejoud explores the imprints one leaves on the world and the people around them. In her second anthology, Awake in the Game of Pretending, Nejoud explores the different stages, or chapters if you will, of living and being. Her reflections of the higher and lower self, along with her wonderings of this vast world of superficialities make for interesting reads down a spiritual path illuminated with love and respect.
Though this author originally wrote the book in Arabic, the published English translation is just as captivating. Being Saud Alsanousi’s second Arabic award-winning novel, The Bamboo Stalk touches on racism and xenophobia in the region. Following the story of a Jose – or Issa as he’s known in Kuwait – and his journey back to his father’s homeland from his mother’s beloved Philippines, the story touches on the tabooed circumstances in which he’s been conceived. A tale of forbidden love, The Bamboo Stalk takes us on a journey through morality and the society we live in.
While this book was co-authored, Evora: The Secret Child was half-penned by Kuwaiti interior designer and performing artist Dana Aljouder. Following the story of Jaci, a Kaiawa dirtwalker, through her path to self discovery, you learn the importance of “being the hero of your own destiny” rather than depending on others. Inspired by Brazilian folktales, the story is written in a way to inspire the readers to take control of their lives and live as they would like to. Part of a trilogy, we absolutely cannot wait for the release of sequels to come! Dana has proven herself to be a writer to keep an eye on.
How can we discuss Kuwaiti writers putting Kuwait on the literary map without including the notable academic Mai Al-Nakib? With her award-winning debut fiction novel, The Hidden Light of Objects, Mai has paved the way for Kuwaiti female authors to shine in the literary world. A collection of short stories, The Hidden Light of Objects explores the realities of living in Kuwait in an almost autobiographical tone while remaining entirely fictional. Starting out as independent thoughts to relive the experiences she missed from her early years in Kuwait, Mai realized some recurring themes that brought the collection together seamlessly. Writing this earned her the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award in 2014, making this literary dream a reality for all Kuwaiti writers to come.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a pen and start writing your thoughts – you could be the next author to feature in this humble column! You could also head to Sirdab Lab for The Divan’s monthly meetings for further inspiration.