Saudi Fiction

In my inbox (and also at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind and Literary Saloon) was a very interesting article on Saudi fiction. The only Saudi author I’m remotely familiar with is the late Abdelrahman Munif (Cities of Salt, etc.) but the article mentions other authors from the Kingdom, including Ghadi al-Gosaibi and Abdo Khal, who find it easier to publish and distribute their work outside their native country.

Writer Abdo Khal, who has written five novels, says his books are not sold in Saudi Arabia because they “address the sacrosanct trio of taboos in the Arab world: sex, politics, and religion. But these are the things that make up people’s lives,” he argues.

Khal could also add race to that trinity. Writer Mahmoud Trawri has had problems publishing his novel because it dealt with a family of African immigrants in Saudi Arabia. By the way, the article also mentions the online bookstore neelwalfurat (“Nile and Euphrates” is, I suppose, the equivalent of Amazon.)