Opening Today, Kuwait’s Growing Litfest Headines Randa Jarrar, Sinan Antoon

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

Today, the American University in Kuwait opens its bigger-and-better Biennial LitFest, one of a series of literary initiatives coming out of Kuwait:

These new initiatives, which include the new Almultaqa Prize for the Arabic short story, come at a time when Kuwaiti writers are strenuously pushing back against a suffocating period of censorship that started with a battle over books in 1998.

While censorships, including those of films, remain a problem, there is a decided literary flowering, pushed by writers like popular novelist Bothayna al-Essa, International Prize for Arabic Fiction winner Saud Alsanousi, and Almultaqa founder and novelist Taleb Alrefai.

These initiatives include this year’s AUK LitFest. Those in Kuwait can find the schedule on Nada Faris’s website. For the rest of us, ArabLit emailed with Asma Alkanan, Library Director at the American University of Kuwait, about the decidedly woman-dominated festival.

Is this the first such AUK litfest bringing in…

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