Short stories from 25 emerging and established writers of Middle Eastern and North African origins, a unique collection of voices and viewpoints that illuminate life in the global Arab/Muslim world.
For much of the 20th and 21st centuries, the region known as the Greater Middle East has faced colonization, war and occupation, while its people have been misrepresented and its literature relegated to oblivion by a Eurocentric culture industry. Emigrant communities are also frequently misunderstood, even as they attempt to adapt and melt into the fabric of new countries and languages.
Now, in this potent anthology with more than its share of surprises, over two dozen writers with roots in the region, men and women, both native and in diaspora, insiders and outsiders, assert their narrative power. Moving from the margins to the markaz, or “center” — a word and a concept shared among languages of the region, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Urdu — they occupy and create a collective worldview.
Selected from among a wave of new fiction published in The Markaz Review between 2020 and 2023, this “best of” collection features authors with roots in Egypt, Greece, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Pakistan and Sudan, to name just some places. In “Raise Your Head High,” Khartoum-born novelist Leila Aboulela writes of a rift between sisters that may only be healed by their solidarity during the Arab Spring.; in “Counter Strike,” MK Harb tells a queer coming-of-age story set in Lebanon; in “Eleazar,” Karim Kattan crafts a tale about a Palestinian family that mysteriously disintegrates. These stories, and these authors, will be new to many readers, now collected and published in English for the first time.
Contributors include: Salar Abdoh, Leila Aboulela, Farah Ahamed, Omar El Akkad, Sarah AlKahly-Mills, Nektaria Anastasiadou, Amany Kamal Eldin, Jordan Elgrably, May Haddad, Malu Halasa, Mohamad Khalil (MK) Harb, Alireza Iranmehr, Karim Kattan, Hanif Kureshi, Sahar Mustafah, Ahmed Naji, Mai Al-Nakib and Natasha Tynes.