Saed Muhssin, Randa Jarrar, Mohja Kahf, Laila Lalami and Daniel Alarcón are all reading or performing somewhere in the next week, and they're all friends or teachers of mine. Daniel is the only non-Arab in this list but he's got the soul of an Arab so he's getting a mention.
Saed Muhssin, Arabic and Contemporary Music: Graduate Recital.
Saturday, April 28, Mills College Concert Hall, 8PM
The concert will include both classical Arabic and avant-garde/
experimental/ free improv/pan idiomatic music, improvised and composed, solo and ensemble.
Mohja Kahf and Randa Jarrar will read at the Stanford Bookstore on Tuesday, May 1, at 5:30 PM. Mohja is a fabulous poet and fiction writer who teaches comparative literature at U. Arkansas; Randa is a dynamic fiction writer with many story publications and a forthcoming novel.
Mohja Kahf is also reading at the Arab Cultural Center in San Francisco on Monday night, April 30, 6:30 p.m. See Mohja's books at left: the poetry collection Emails from Scheherazad and the debut novel Girl in a Tangerine Headscarf.
Laila Lalami, our own Moorish Girl, is returning from Morocco to sit on three panels at the Pen/Global Voices festival in New York City -- one on Wednesday 4/25 and two on Thursday 4/26. One of the Thursday panels is with Abdulrazak Gurnah. The other is with Pico Iyer and Neil Gaiman so it's a celebrity blow-out. Check her blog for details. Laila is the author of the novel about Moroccan immigrants titled Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.
Daniel Alarcón is covered with glory this week - a Guggenheim to him announced Monday. He deserves it. Catch him at the Tishman auditorium in NYC Tuesday April 24, 8:30 pm, as part of the Granta Best Young Novelists panel. Then look for him on two more panels on the 27th, Friday, as part of the Pen Global Voices festival. Check his site for more specifics.
Mr. Alarcón is leaving soon for a tour of the Middle East sponsored by the US government. He will be visiting Syria and Palestine as well as Israel and Turkey. If you have a chance to meet him or hear him read, take it. His new book, Lost City Radio, is gripping and heartrending, set in a city that resembles Lima, Peru. He is one young American literary star the Arab world would do well to read. See also his collection of stories: War By Candlelight.