Palestinian Poet Scoops Double Accolade

‘In the Time of the Apricots’, Carol Sansour’s trilingual anthology                            dubs Palestine ‘the cause that is not a cause’.

Launch Event in Cairo, February 6, 7pm, Al Kotob Khan Bookstore, featuring singer Ghalia Benali

In the Time of the Apricots, the first published poetry anthology by self-proclaimed social provoker, Carol Sansour has been hailed as the literary highlight of 2019.

The acclaim has been made by Youssef Rakha, the writer, poet and cultural editor of Egypt’s Al Ahram Weekly within weeks of the book’s publication (on December 19, 2019, Al Kotob Khan).

Close on its heels, the popular magazine ‘This Week in Palestine’ named Sansour’s work ‘Book of the Month’ in its first issue of the new decade.

Cairo Book Fair                                                                                                               Palestinian by birth, Athens-based Sansour, who sees herself as an agitator of conversation, will make her first public presentation of the debut work at the Cairo Book Fair in early February. This will be followed by an event on February 6 in the Egyptian capital’s premier bookstore, Al Kotob Khan.

“Through my work, I introduce my deep interest in post-national, post-gender, and post-religion identities. I tend to guide Palestine away from political clichés and more towards registering the nation in a new light – from a place of unrest to the calm of homeland,” Sansour said.

“My Palestine – and the Palestine of many – is a place of nature and of intimacies, small things performing on small stages: the household, the church, the swing on our high balcony, my mother, all our mothers.”

Rakha selected Sansour’s work for his end-of-year review because ‘the power of Sansour’s debut poetry collection lies in her seemingly effortless subverting of the Palestinian cause to not be a cause, as well as its provoking embrace of Arab womanhood’.

Three Languages                                                                                                           

Sansour’s work is published as a trilingual volume in Arabic, English and French.

“I have been told In the Time of the Apricots displays a post-national discourse of belonging by necessity, which speaks as eloquently to the human condition as the best free verse. This pleases me, as this is exactly what I get from the finished work,” she shared.

Interactive Launch Event in Cairo – music and conversation

Sansour said her February 6 presentation, for which Rakha has been invited as moderator, will be far from a regular book signing.

“I want to stir constructive, intriguing dialogue and so the event is designed as a ‘conversation circle’ which Youssef will facilitate. I have also invited the Tunisian singer and songwriter, Ghalia Benali to perform.”

Benali is so captivated by Sansour’s poetry that she has already put numerous pieces to music.

“I want to generate wide, deep and meaningful interaction with the audience in Cairo. I could think of no better way to do this than through the music of Ghalia and Youssef’s ability to guide compelling connections,” she stated.

At the evening event, Rakha is set to highlight Sansour’s themes around homeland, belonging in post-Arab Spring, and gender.

“In her sincere, refreshingly unaffected vision of self and homeland, Sansour, a native of Beit Jala, exposes a flimsy and counter-productive modern literary discourse on homeland and womanhood.

“She encourages emotional, intellectual, and political awareness of what it means to be a secular, independent and socially-engaged woman in Palestine,” Rakha said.

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