Displacement is an essential part of the Lebanese collective experience and it is relevant as ever, in light of the mass displacement from neighboring Syria today. The anguish of those left behind, the alienation of the departed in their new surroundings and the ultimate impossibility of return. It has been translated into German as Septembervogel by Veronika Theis, but not into English. Journalist, translator, and author Olivia Snaije, in her brief tribute Wednesday, wrote that Nasrallah was “one of the first to write short stories, to write both about her village in the south and Beirut, during the civil war” and was “a real feminist, gracious, quiet, firm.”
Nasrallah’s other widely known work is Yawmiyyat Hirr (1997), a book for children that was translated into English as What Happened to Zeeko (2001), as well as into Thai, Dutch, and German. Her passing was marked by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri:
بغياب الاديبة اميلي نصرالله يخسر #لبنان والعرب اليوم شعلة من رموز #الادب والابداع اللبناني ومناضلة لحقوق المرأة شكلت قيمة فكرية مضافة لوطننا وعالمنا #العربي. It describes everyday life during Civil War-era Beirut from the perspective of a tomcat. At the time of the award, journalist Emily Dische-Becker said of Nasrallah’s writing:
The uprooting, through voluntary or involuntary departure, is a consistent theme throughout Nasrallah’s work. A funeral is set for today in Zahle:
Born in the summer of 1931, Emily Nasrallah grew up in Al Kfeir, a village in southern Lebanon, before moving to Beirut to study and work as a journalist and teacher. The quiet, firm Lebanese feminist author and activist Emily Nasrallah (1931-2018) — celebrated for her debut novel Birds of September — has died. It takes courage to write about home, as Emily Nasrallah does, with both affection and honesty, to weave the intimate particularities of customs, the disappointments and sacrifices of its women into stories that may fail to pass state censors but resonate with generations of readers. Her debut novel, Birds of September, came out in 1962 and was later listed as one of the Arab Writers Union’s 105 best books of the twentieth century. Last August, Nasrallah received a Goethe medal for her work, alongside Indian publisher Urvashi Butalia and Russian human-rights activist Irina Shcherbakova. Two other books by Nasrallah have translated to English. — Saad Hariri (@saadhariri) March 14, 2018
The author’s official website: www.emilynasrallah.com
Emily Nasrallah: The “peasant woman” who wrote about her land and won the heart of the world
Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading…‹ ‘Returning to Haifa’: A ‘Depressing and Necessary Reminder of What Is Still at Stake’Categories: Lebanese The first by Issa Boullata, as Flight Against Time, and the second a collection of short stories, House Not Her Own, translated by Thuraya Khalil-Khouri.