Lit-Mag #42

Middle East, Islam and the Arabian World”

Andrew Madigan, Al Ain (VAE)

Islam is the fastest growing faith in the world, and it’s especially verdant outside of Arab countries. It’s growth is particularly poignant in Africa and Oceania. We’d like to see submissions regarding: the conflict between modernity and tradition in Abu Dhabi; the experience of expats in Libya; the cultural changes in Indonesia following the ascent of Islam; the plight of Jews in Yemen; how Islam has changed the Sudan; veiled Qatari girls with laptops.  – Andrew Madigan,  Al Ain (VAE)

Where does the Muslim World end and the Christian World begin? Is this a factor of national boundaries, or is it something more nuanced and complex? What does it mean to be Muslim in the contemporary world? What does it mean to be a non-Muslim living in Arabia? Are you an Afghani poet writing about your faith? Are you a Canadian living in the Middle East with a good story to tell? Whatever the case, we’re interested in what you have to say. Andrew Madigan calls his own story Different People.

A city girl, Raquelle Azran divides her time between Hanoi, where she specializes in Vietnamese contemporary fine art; Tel Aviv, where she writes in her inner city aerie overlooking the Mediterranean, and her native New York. Her short stories and essays have been published and anthologized internationally. By the Roadblock of Bethlehem was first published in print in the International Herald Tribune literary supplement (Middle East edition, 2002).

Maura Bowen lives in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. She entitled her text about Jamila simply Burden.


Earl Boyd is a Canadian writer living in Singapore. The Last Days of the Raj is the longest contribution to this issue.

Stephen Bremner studied Oriental Languages at Oxford University, and has spent most of his working life overseas – in the Middle East, eastern Europe and China. He is currently teaching at a university in Hong Kong. The Backpacker’s Tale speaks for itself: ‘How long have you been travelling?’ There it was again, that question, the backpacker’s mantra. How quickly people sought to establish their credentials…

Ranjini George’s work has appeared in Hamlet Studies, Peregrine, Agni, So to Speak, Room of One’s Own, The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Contemporary Women Writers on Forerunners in Fiction, Modern English Teacher, Commonwealth and American Women’s Discourse, TheVictorian Newsletter, Write (a publications of the Writers’ Union of Canada), among others. A recipient of the Arnold B. Fox Award in Research Writing (1989), a Georges and Anne Bochardt Fiction Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference (2005), and the first prize winner in the Canada’s inaugural Coffee Shop Author contest (2010), she holds a PhD in English from Northern Illinois University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She lives with her family in Mississauga, Ontario. The City of Gold was first published in print in The Ontario Review, Spring/Summer 2005.

Yahia Lababidi’s latest book is the critically-acclaimed collection of essays, Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing. His previous book, Signposts to Elsewhere, was selected for Books of the Year, 2008, by The Independent(UK). Lababidi is a Pushcart-nominated poet, whose new poetry collection, Fever Dreams, is published by Crisis Chronicles Press. Otherwise, his writing has been translated into Arabic, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Italian. The Belly Dancer at the Wedding.

Dennis Leavens lives and works in Ai Ain, United Arab Emirates. Two Poems.

Hunter Liguore is completing her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. Her fiction has appeared most recently in Bellevue Literary Reviewand The MacGuffin. Her short story, “Red Barn People,” was nominated for the 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her novel, The Forsakens, is represented by the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency. Her piece she called Pieces.

Manfred Malzahn was born in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. He studied English and German Literature, and presented a doctoral thesis on representations of identity in the contemporary Scottish novel at the University of Wuppertal in 1983. After a period of national service at the Goethe Institute in his native town of Iserlohn, he joined the German Department of Edinburgh University in Scotland as a German Academic Exchange Service “Lektor”, before going on to teach English literature at universities in Tunisia, Algeria, Malawi, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates, where he has held a Professorship since 1998. He has published widely, but by no means exclusively in the field of Scottish literature and culture. His poem is entitled Rondo.

Jonathon Penny has the PhD in literature from the University of Ottawa in his native Canada, a patient and indulgent spouse, and three strapping sons. He currently teaches literature tin the Middle East, with mixed results, and is working on several books of and about poetry for children and the people who care about them. Two Poems.

Lit-Mag #41     Lit-Mag #43