SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

Hidden Light: A View from Cosmopolitan Kuwait

Mai Al-Nakib
Mai Al-Nakib, Kuwait University

Date: 6 October 2015Time: 5:45 PM

Finishes: 6 October 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

What can fiction do in the context of the fraught Middle East? Join Kuwait writer and academic Mai Al-Nakib for a discussion and reading of her award-winning collection of short stories, The Hidden Light of Objects.

We are all too familiar with images of the Middle East depicted in mainstream media—often exaggerated and inaccurate, sometimes not as far off the mark as some of us might wish. In recent years, the region has been overwhelmed by occupation, war, revolution, economic crises, and a range of fundamentalisms, among other threats. While the Gulf countries appear relatively calm by comparison with many of their neighbours in the region, this may be a temporary respite. Can the state of Kuwait—site of what might be labelled “the forgotten Gulf war”—provide an alternative view to those currently dominating? In the face of encroaching concerns, what role, if any, can fiction play? Mai Al-Nakib discusses these issues in relation to her award-winning collection of short stories, The Hidden Light of Objects. Presentation to be followed by reading and discussion.

Mai Al-Nakib (PhD, Brown University) is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Kuwait University. Her research addresses a wide range of issues linked to cultural politics in the Middle East—from Arab feminisms to the ethical question of Palestinians in Kuwait. Her collection of short stories, The Hidden Light of Objects (Bloomsbury), traces overlooked moments in the lives of those who reside in a region often overwhelmed by geopolitics. The Hidden Light of Objects won the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award in 2014, the first short story collection to win the award. She is currently writing her first novel.  

Chair: Nelida Fuccaro, SOAS

Organiser: London Middle East Institute and the Near & Middle East History Seminar

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Contact Tel: 020 7898 4330/4490