Book Review: A powerful collection about a never-before-seen side of Marrakech

A powerful collection about a never-before-seen side of Marrakech. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 October 2018

Book Review: A powerful collection about a never-before-seen side of Marrakech

CHICAGO: This year’s noir anthology from Akashic Books takes us to Marrakech, Morocco, the first North African city to share its dark tales translated from Arabic, French and Dutch into English for the award-winning series. Each story focuses on a specific neighborhood, with its mysteries and allures, as “Marrakech Noir” and its 15 contributing authors delve into the city, its religious and cultural hues, its tourist attractions, its story-telling haven at Jemaa el-Fnaa, and its shadowy, less attractive corners.

Edited by Yassin Adnan, this powerful collection of diverse and unique tales dives into a Marrakech mostly unknown by outsiders. The stories paint an in-depth portrait of a city and traverse the spectrum of emotions, from joyful to sadistic. Known as “The Red City” and “The Joyful City” since the time of the Almoravid leader Yusuf bin Tashfin, Adnan says in his introduction that Marrakech does not necessarily associate with noir: “Marrakechis can invent colorful stories to avoid the darkness of reality.”

In this collection, however, the contributors took on the challenge to take readers on a journey through old and invented crimes committed in the ancient city and modern neighborhoods.

The book begins with an innovative tale called “The Mysterious Painting” by Fouad Laroui. It takes place in Bab Doukkala and follows a police chief who has recently moved to Marrakech from Safi. Following the same routine daily, he sits in the restaurant he frequents every day for lunch and notices a painting hanging in front of him. This painting takes him and readers on a journey through Marrakech, its people, and history.

As the book moves forward, the stories take us to Derb Sidi Bouloukat and Marrakech’s love for cinema, into the future when oil is extracted from Mars, to discrimination against immigrants, to a potter whose sculptures take hold of their owners.

The stories lead readers through a never-seen-before Marrakech, brimming with nostalgia and the sense of attachment each of the authors have to the city and its history.

 


Award-winning writers coming to Dubai for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

British author Nadiya Hussain among guests at the 2020 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. (Photo: AFP)
Updated 13 November 2019

Award-winning writers coming to Dubai for Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

  • The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is back, and it’s bigger than ever
  • The literature event will bring together an array of celebrated names in the literature world under one roof

DUBAI: The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is back, and it’s bigger than ever. Kicking off on Feb. 4 until 9 at the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City, the annual event has an exciting program lined up for the region’s bookworms.

The festival will bring together an array of celebrated names in the literature world under one roof, including TV presenter, cook and bestselling author Nadiya Hussain, explorer Ranulph Fiennes, visual artist and children’s book author, Oliver Jeffers and TV astronomer and space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. What’s more, the UAE’s first Emirati astronaut Hazzaa AlMansouri will also make an appearance.

Ahlam Bolooki, the festival director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature said in an official press statement: “With the stellar line-up for the 2020 Festival, there is no better place to search for the answers, whatever your question may be. We have writers to entertain, inspire, challenge and excite people from all walks of life and of all ages.”

Tickets will be on sale to the public from Nov. 14.