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‘The Hidden Light of Objects’ launched in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY, April 3: The Contemporary Art Platform (CAP) in conjunction with Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing hosted the launch of Mai Al-Nakib’s book, The Hidden Light of Objects on April 2. The Kuwaiti writer was introduced by Thalia Suzuma, Head of English Publishing at Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation.

The author’s introduction was followed by a presentation and reading from the book by Mai Al- Nakib. In her introduction of Mai Al-Nakib, Thalia Suzuma, Head of English Publishing, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation, said: “I’m delighted to introduce Mai Al- Nakib. BQFP is very proud to be publishing Mai’s debut collection of short stories, The Hidden Light of Objects. As an editor, you can’t really have favorite books, it’s like a parent having a favorite child. But Mai’s collection is particularly close to my heart: full of dichotomies between the personal and the universal, the political and the individual, these are stories that will resonate with all readers as it captures memories, traces reflections, and adds colors to the transience of life. I really hope you enjoy the collection.” The Hidden Light of Objects is a collection of loosely connected short stories set mainly in the Middle East. They trace quiet, ignored moments in a region overwhelmed by geopolitical, military, and religious forces.

Although the stories engage familiar events in the region-the invasion of Kuwait, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the civil war in Lebanon-the focus is on the everyday lives of people who live there. The stories are linked through character, place, tone, and, most importantly, a series of objects.

The Hidden Light of Objects is about loss and memory, war and love, and the strange longing objects can unexpectedly trigger. About her collection of stories, Mai Al-Nakib said: “I think of the stories as experiments with memory. Why do we remember what we do? I am particularly interested in how remembered moments motivate writing but, beyond that, how they motivate people (and characters) to narrate their lives in highly specific and singular ways.” Hanan al-Shaykh, author of Beirut Blues and Only in London, describes Mai Al-Nakib’s collection as follows: “The old world and the new. The strife in the Gulf, once peaceful and reflective. East and West, Arabic and English, the poetry of the heart, the eye of the hawk; all these elements produce the lustrous pearls of Mai Al-Nakib’s short stories.” While critically-acclaimed American author A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill and Blue Water, considers the book to be: “The most original first collection of short fiction I have read in years.”

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