Language and the Inner Life

with Rabih Alameddine and Youmna Chlala

Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:00pm
Asian American Writer's Workshop
112 W. 27th St
New York, NY

Media Gallery

We suspect that you, like us, have a rich inner life, and never get tired of traipsing its landscape. Join us on the 30th if you carry a portrait of Emily Dickinson in your heart, and have a soft spot for introverts and writers who are obsessed with the power of language and literature to create our inner worlds.

In Rabih Alameddine's new novel, we ride along in the pocket of a fascinating, obsessive introvert -- a 72-year old Dickinson-esque Beiruti woman named Aaliyah (the "unnecessary woman" of the book's title) as she translates a book a year into Arabic, and never shows the translations to anyone. She is, in the words of Rachel Kushner, a “stupendous center of consciousness.” In Rabih’s intimate, Borgesian novel, we see Aaliya's fertile, polyglot musings on literature, art, and philosophy, through the lens of "a wonderful mind at play" (Colm Tóibín).

Join us at the AAWW for a special conversation with one of our most ambitious novelists. Don’t take our word for it—take Yiyun Li’s: "There are many ways to break someone's heart, but Rabih Alameddine is one rare writer who not only breaks our hearts but gives every broken piece a new life… No words can express my gratitude for this book."

The event will be moderated by Pratt Institute Associate Professor Youmna Chlala, an artist and writer whose work has been exhibited at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Performa, Art In General, and published in Guernica.

Rabih Alameddine is the author of Koolaids, I, the Divine, The Perv, and the international bestseller The Hakawati, an ambitious re-telling of the Arabian Nights in 21st Century Beirut which was described by the New York Times as “a wonder of a book… genius.” He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.

This program is co-sponsored by ArteEast.

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