Festival 2010 NL


Amal Jubouri 1967-...

country: Iraq
language: Arabic
Amal al-Jubouri was born in Baghdad in 1967. After studying English language and literature she went to work for Iraqi television, where she produced her own culture programme. She also worked as a literary translator and started a publishing house for literature. In 1997 she fled Iraq for Europe and settled in Munich with her daughter. In 2000 she became chief editor of the Arab-German magazine al-Diwan, which appears in Berlin.
Amal Al-Jubouri published her first collection of poems, Wine from Wounds, in Iraq in 1986. Her second collection, Words, Set Me Free!, appeared in Amman in 1994. This collection was greeted by reviewers as an important contribution to contemporary Arab poetry, for its choice of themes, its effective use of language and powerful images.
Amal Al-Jubouri translated a modern play about the Arab mystic al-Hallaaj, who was killed for his beliefs in Baghdad in 922 A.D. Her fascination for mysticism also appears from her poems and from her collection Enheduanna, priestess of exile, which appeared in London in 1999. The title refers to Enheduanna, daughter of King Sargon, who ruled in southern Mesopotamia from c. 2334 to 2279 B.C. Enheduanna was a priestess and the first poetess on record.
Amal al-Jubouri says she has looked for inspiration in the hymns of Endehuanna and in the exploits of Ishtar, the goddess of love, war and fertility, as well as in her new home country, for which her symbol is Goethe. The collection contains her version of the Arabian Nights stories, a version of pain, war, restriction and repression. For the Arab edition she chose the title This Body is Yours, Do Not Fear for My Sake. At the Beirut book fair, this collection was awarded the prize for ‘best Arabic book’.

Author: Kees Nijland
Translated by Ko Kooman
Amal al-Jubouri (Iraq, 1967) studied English language and literature at Baghdad University and worked as a television presenter and journalist. She made her début as a poet in 1986 and has published two more collections since. In 1997 she fled to Germany, where she now edits the Arab-German magazine Diwan. She is considered to be the most important young poet from Iraq. Her work has been compared with that of the great Lebanese poet Adonis, and with that of Emily Dickinson.


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