The Qatari Authors’ Forum held a new meeting of the “Book Council” event, moderated by writer Maryam Yassin Al Hammadi, Director General of the Forum, and writer Saleh Gharib, Program Director of the Forum, through the Microsoft Times program.
The “Book Council” hosted the student, Sarah Al-Yaqoub, winner of the Youth Literature Competition, which was launched by the Authors’ Forum in mid-March, and whose results were announced in April.
Sarah Al-Yacoub spoke about her participation in this competition with encouragement and follow-up from her mother. She noted that her winning work, “14 days”, tells the story of a Qatari student studying medicine in Britain. The circumstances of the Corona pandemic forced her to return to Qatar. She then volunteered within the medical team after she spent 14 days in quarantine. Al-Yacoub considered that winning this award comes after her first cultural experiences through her participation in the school activities, cultural competitions and debates organized by her school. She further noted that winning and this meeting are incentives for her to continue writing and to develop an idea for a book about a girl living in the times before and after the Coronavirus pandemic. She also praised the initiative launched by the Qatari Authors’ Forum, under the supervision of writer Hessa Al-Awadi, to embrace talents that emerge in writing during this period.
Student Sarah Al-Yacoub also spoke about the atmosphere of Ramadan and Eid during the home quarantine, noting that she learned many things, including how to prepare popular meals, and she devoted herself to helping her mother in the domestic chores which contributed more to strengthening the bonds of love and affection among family members.
For his part, Lebanese critic and novelist Dr. Ali Nesr talked about his Eid memories in Lebanon and the customs he lived as a child. He indicated that although new ideas intersect in the world and technology and aspects of modernity are accelerating life, yet the urgent need for traditions is intellectually and spiritually is still a necessity. Eid brings joy in spite of this pandemic that is spreading its threatening wings over the world.
Ali Nesr turning to speak about some aspects of Qatari literature through a master’s thesis prepared by a Lebanese student residing in Qatar about the novel “The Bomb” by Ahmed Abdel Malek. He considered that this distinguished novel, with beautiful narrative techniques, provides a comprehensive and extensive view of Qatari traditions and customs, which may not be offered by sociology history studies or by a quick visit to Qatar.
The Lebanese critic highlighted that the literary scene in Lebanon is characterized by richness and creativity due to cultural and ethnic diversity and openness to Western culture.
For her part, Kuwaiti writer Al-Saadia Lamufreh that home quarantine forms to her an opportunity to restart reading heritage books that befit the holy month. She further noted that, “Although we were deprived of many things because of this pandemic, it helped us in social management and economy in consumption and in visiting markets and many things which proved to be only luxury.”
Al-Saadia Lamufreh indicated that she also invested her home quarantine period in writing. She wrote articles about isolation discipline and two poems, one of which (about Salah at home) was made into a chant shared by social media platforms.
As for writer Mokhtar Kawaja, he spoke about Sudanese traditions and customs in celebrating Eid. This is an occasion which becomes a noble opportunity for everyone to dissolve their misunderstandings with others and to break all psychological barriers and to visit.
At the end of the episode, members offered their advice to the young writer to continue in her journey in literature. Dr. Ali Nesr summarized these pieces of advice in that she must be humble and continue to learn and to write and read. Writer Saadia Lamufreh praised the support that is offered to the talented young writer and the professional opportunity she is being offered by mingling with prominent writers. As for his part, Mr.; Saleh Gharieb expressed his hope that he would have the opportunity to discuss with her the novel and her previous novels too.