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Kitaab kicks off its Asian Literature in Translation Project with Isa Kamari’s seminal novel, “Intercession”

IntercessionOne of the aims of Kitaab is to celebrate Asian writing through translations, and make great literature available in various Asian languages.

Kitaab made its foray into publishing with a book of Urdu poetry, translated into English. Urdu Poetry—An Introduction was published in 2013 and was released at the Singapore Writers Festival in the same year.

“We are kicking off Kitaab’s Asian Literature in Translation Project with Isa Kamari’s seminal novel, Intercession,” said Zafar Anjum, founder-editor of Singapore-based publishing company, Kitaab. The novel was published in Malay as “Tawassul”.

Kitaab will get the novel translated into Urdu and Hindi languages and will get it published.

Singaporean writer Isa Kamari is a Cultural Medallion winner (2007) and has written nine novels in Malay: Satu Bumi, Kiswah, Tawassul, Menara, Atas Nama Cinta, Memeluk Gerhana, Rawa, Duka Tuan Bertakhta and Selendang Sukma. Seven were translated into English: One Earth (Satu Bumi), Intercession (Tawassul), Nadra (Atas Nama Cinta), Rawa (Rawa), A Song of the Wind (Memeluk Gerhana), 1819 (Duka Tuan Bertakhta) and The Tower (Menara). He has also published two collections of poems, Sumur Usia and Munajat Sukma, a collection of short stories, Sketsa Minda and a collection of theatre scripts, Pintu. Isa has also been honoured with  the S.E.A. Write Award (2006) and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang (2009).

“The publication of Tawassul (Intercession) in Urdu and Hindi is indeed a breakthrough after 13 years of its first publication,” said Kamari. “I would like to thank Kitaab for this wonderful opportunity to present it to an audience that it deserves and beyond. It is timely and crucial. You have to read it to understand why.” Continue reading

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Yasmina Khadra on Islamic terrorism: ‘A battle of extremes’

The French-Algerian author shares his views on literature, politics, freedom of speech, and the Charlie Hebdo attack: Al Jazeera

Yasmina Khadra, a man whose own life stands right at the intersection of the big debate about Islam and the West, Muslims in France, and the role of art and literature, talks to Al Jazeera.

He says: “We are seeing a battle of extremes. On one side, in France, for example, freedom of speech is sacred. On the other, for all those who believe, religion is sacred. Of course, both are right to defend their values. But both are wrong to impose their values upon others …. Continue reading


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India is Kafkaland: When the State Terrorises its Citizens

The focus of this study has been to examine the terror that the State unleashes on its citizens. Given the rampant prejudice against Muslims, the political climate that has existed in the past two decades and the prevalent discourse on Islamic terrorism, it is difficult to believe that the police will not be careful about who they pick up in such cases, says Manisha Sethi in this interview with Tehelka

kafkalandOver the past three decades, terrorism has slowly injected itself into the minds of ordinary citizens, infecting them with a deep fear of the unknown. Terrorism as a mode of warfare in the hands of men who want to inflict mayhem and fear has evolved to be a defining feature of our times. Bomb blasts, as primary weapons of terrorism, are random, unexpected and unforgiving. Blasts invariably trigger rage and mass paranoia, blurring our rationality to a level where our senses and memories stand stunned. “Uprooting terrorism” has become a ubiquitous project in our political discourse as the problem is identified as a great threat to our republic. That is why it is important that we understand the mechanics that go into “uprooting terrorism”. Manisha Sethi’s Kafkaland is probably the best place to start. Continue reading