Award-winning short-story collection ‘A Bed for the King’s Daughter’ resonates long after final tale

Award-winning short-story collection ‘A Bed for the King’s Daughter’ resonates long after final tale
Shahla Ujayli is the author of “A Bed for the King’s Daughter.” (Supplied)
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Updated 10 March 2021

Award-winning short-story collection ‘A Bed for the King’s Daughter’ resonates long after final tale

Award-winning short-story collection ‘A Bed for the King’s Daughter’ resonates long after final tale

CHICAGO: Award-winning Syrian author Shahla Ujayli’s “A Bed for the King’s Daughter” is an extraordinary short-story collection of 22 fictional tales.

From a global hunt for a man named Mohammed Ismail, to Cinderella, and a woman who uses her own strength to ensure her fate, the writer’s characters spread themselves around the world.

Translated into English by another prize winner, Sawad Hussain, the subjects of Ujayli’s tales take shape and transform in their incredible thirst for life by living through themes of apartheid, spirituality, life’s contradictions and ironic fates, the curiosity of the young, and the instinct to survive.

Identified as an experimental journey and one that fits no mold, according to Hussain’s translator’s note, there had been difficulties trying to find an editor, despite the collection scooping the 2017 Al-Multaqa award for Arabic short-story collections.

Labeled as “too short” or “not Arab enough,” Hussain said that the collection went beyond what was on the page, inspiring readers to explore what was unsaid and unwritten.

Beginning with the story of Cinderella, whose slipper becomes a weapon of agency rather than a clue that leads to fortune and love, a woman finds strength in her own hands.

But in the second tale, that power is taken away when young children waiting for their Christmas presents are left disappointed when they realize Santa cannot get to them.

From the sheikh who continues to ask the heavens for rain while the youth check the weather on their phones, to the villagers on the mountain who battle the cold and refuse to succumb, Ujayli invokes and massages perspectives and resilience that is carried on the wind of her words. In just a few simple sentences, she conveys the lives of ordinary people and the contradictions and ironic fates they face.

Among the stories there is a desire for life, and each of Ujayli’s characters adapt and fight to survive for the human spirit rather than materials they can possess.

Her characters are stubborn which can bring about their own downfall and sometimes success, as happens in life. But that which is broken, or wounded is still alive in Ujayli’s collection.

There are scars, mental and physical, that mar the collection’s multiple characters, but that shows they have lived and their urgency for life remains long after their stories have ended.


Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 

Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 
Updated 21 September 2021

Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 

Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 

DUBAI: Emirati visual artist Aisha Juma is showcasing her work at an exhibition titled “Beyond Belief” in Berlin, Germany. 

Supported by Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF), Juma is taking part in the exhibition that brings together a variety of artworks from more than 35 artists. 

Aisha Juma is an Emirati visual artist. (aishajuma.com)

Open until Nov. 21, “Beyond Belief” explores the rise of modern-day spirituality, its origins, diverse manifestations and unique contemporary attributes. 

Juma, on her Instagram account, shared images of her drawings that are “inspired by the concept of art and spirituality.

“So happy to be part of this fundamental creative conversation,” she wrote. 

The inauguration of the event was attended by Hafsa Al-Ulama, the UAE ambassador to Germany. 

In her speech at the event, Al-Ulama praised the strong cultural ties between the UAE and Germany, and commended ADF’s commitment to participating in art exhibitions and festivals in Germany. 

She added that the festival’s sponsorship of “Beyond Belief” reflects Abu Dhabi’s role in promoting art worldwide. 


Bahraini label Noon by Noor lights up London Fashion Week

Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled ‘Light.’ (Supplied)
Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled ‘Light.’ (Supplied)
Updated 21 September 2021

Bahraini label Noon by Noor lights up London Fashion Week

Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled ‘Light.’ (Supplied)

DUBAI: Bahraini label Noon by Noor showed off its Spring 2022 collection at London Fashion Week this weekend, debuting a line of lighter-than-air separates and dainty dresses.

Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled “Light” at East London’s Rochelle School, which specializes in art and architecture.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Noon By Noor (@noonbynoor)

The label, which is a regular on the New York Fashion Week circuit, drew crowds to its London showcase, with a host of industry insiders and influencers taking to social media to show off the new collection.

The brand, which was established in 2008, showed off a floral-tinged offering. (Supplied)

The brand, which was established in 2008, showed off a floral-tinged offering, with sprigs of color, as well as white-on-white looks complete with traditional mirror work embroidery.

“We selected our fabrics, mixing different scales of checks from ginghams to madras, alongside bold stripes in lime-ivory, pink-ivory and grey-ivory,” designer Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa said in a released statement.

“A photograph of Bahraini pearl divers in their sarongs gently gathered and tied at the waist, mixed with dreams of summer sunshine, holiday memories and flowers was the start of our spring collection development,” she added.

Her cousin and co-designer Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa shed further light on the materials chosen for the collection.

“Beautiful poplins, jersey, washed cottons, coated linens, silk voiles, organza, tulle and canvas all reflect the idea of light. Sometimes two or three of these fabrics are combined into one garment,” she said.


Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars

Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars
Updated 21 September 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars

Expo 2020 Dubai releases official song featuring regional stars

DUBAI: Expo 2020 Dubai, which will kick off on Oct. 1, released its official song titled “This is our Time” on Tuesday. 

The English and Arabic language song, now available on YouTube, features Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi, who is Expo 2020’s ambassador, along with US-Lebanese Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Mayssa Karaa, who is the artistic director of Expo’s all-female Firdaus Orchestra. 

“This is our Time” also features 21-year-old Emirati singer-songwriter Almas, named in Spotify’s list of best female talent in the Middle East.

“‘This is our Time’ is a tribute to the UAE for all it has been, is today and will achieve in the years to come,” Al-Jassmi said in a released statement. “It’s a song about pride, faith and unity, and I hope that it brings a smile to the faces of everyone who hears it, wherever they may be in the world. Being a part of such an iconic event in the UAE’s history is extremely exciting and rewarding.”

Meanwhile, Karaa said that she feels honored to have collaborated on the song. “Expo 2020 is a significant moment for the entire Arab world and for Arabs around the rest of the world. Through this song, I hope we can inspire people of all ages and from all walks of life to follow their dreams – the possibilities are endless,” she said. 

The youngest of the trio, Almas, said that the song is an “embodiment of hope and the belief that collaboration will yield a better future for all.”

“I’m so proud to be Emirati and play a role in a moment that will be forever part of my country’s history,” she added. 

The six-month event, which was postponed due to COVID-19, will run until March 31, 2022. 


Bella Hadid celebrates niece Khai’s birthday with never-before-seen snaps

US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)
US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 20 September 2021

Bella Hadid celebrates niece Khai’s birthday with never-before-seen snaps

US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)

DUBAI: US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday, and paid special tribute to Gigi Hadid and her partner Zayn Malik on their daughter’s big day.

“Happy Birthday to the greatest gift our family has ever been blessed with… I didn’t know my heart could grow this big!!!” Bella posted on Instagram, alongside a carousel of photos featuring the now-one-year-old.

Although baby Khai’s face was blocked by emoji stickers in all the shots, for privacy reasons, Bella managed to gush over the family’s bundle of joy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

“You make me smile when I’m sad and make me cry of happiness just because (you’re) alive. I can’t wait to watch you grow into the most perfect specimen of all. @gigihadid @zayn thank you for my forever best friend,” the model aunt added.

The couple announced the birth of their daughter in September 2020, with Gigi sharing the exciting news with her 58.5 million Instagram followers.

“Our girl joined us Earth-side this weekend and she’s already changed our world,” she said at the time.

For his part, proud father and British signer Malik write: “Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful. To try put into words how I am feeling right now would be an impossible task.”

“The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine, and thankful for the life we will have together,” he added.


Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend
Updated 20 September 2021

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

LONDON: Michael Schumacher will always be an iconic figure in Formula 1 — widely regarded as one of the most gifted racers of all time, with a work ethic hitherto unseen in the sport, and a drive for perfection that left his rivals staggered by his laser focus. And while this documentary, created with the blessing and cooperation of the Schumacher family, offers an incredible look at the personal and private life of the German driver, it does little to expand on what most people already know about the seven-times world champion.

Now streaming on Netflix, a procession of famous faces from the world of F1 — Ross Brawn, Flavio Briatore, Jean Todt, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and many others — offer their recollections of Michael, and those interviews are expertly combined with archival material from Schumacher himself, home videos released by the family, and interviews with his wife and children.

Michael Schumacher’s documentary offers a look at the personal and private life of the German driver. (Motorsport Images)

But while directors Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker and Michael Wech do a skilled job of stitching everything together, they rarely take the chance to take “Schumacher” into new territory. Subjects such as Schumacher’s aggression-fueled lapses in racing judgement, or his insistence that he simply couldn’t be in the wrong in any crash, get little more than lip service — perhaps understandably, given that the film was created in such close cooperation with his family. But it does beg the question of what “Schumacher” hopes to achieve. Anyone who follows F1 knows that his was a generation-defining talent, and hearing that same sentiment reflected by a series of notable interviewees simply rings a little hollow.

What’s more, the movie steers clear of offering up any glimpse of Schumacher today. At the end of 2013, Michael suffered a significant brain injury during a skiing trip and hasn’t been seen since. He is, his family insists, continuing to live his life as privately as possible. And while that privacy is important, and absolutely his right, it makes for a strange juxtaposition with a film billed as offering such an intimate portrait of a racing legend.