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In 2013, Kuwait’s parliament authorised a law that made blasphemy a capital crime. Although this decision was successfully vetoed by the Emir of Kuwait, it highlighted the precarious sanctity of freedom of speech in a religiously conservative country. In An Unlasting Home, Mai Al-Nakib imagines an alternative reality where this law comes to pass.
Join Mai Al-Nakib in conversation with Index on Censorship’s Katie Dancey-Downs as she discusses her debut novel’s approach to censorship and blasphemy in the Middle East. Described by Ira Mathur as ‘an exquisite discourse on the nature of freedom’, An Unlasting Home is out now in paperback and published by Saqi Books.
Meet the speakers
Mai Al-Nakib was born in Kuwait and spent the first six years of her life in London, Edinburgh and St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Brown University and is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Kuwait University. Her academic research focuses on cultural politics in the Middle East, with a special emphasis on gender, cosmopolitanism and postcolonial issues. Her short-story collection, The Hidden Light of Objects, won the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award in 2014, the first collection of short stories to do so.
Her fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter, The First Line, After the Pause and The Markaz Review, and her occasional essays in World Literature Today, BLARB: Blog of The LA Review of Books, and on the BBC World Service, among others. She lives in Kuwait.
Katie Dancey-Downs is Assistant Editor at Index on Censorship. She has travelled the world to tell stories about people and the planet. She’s passionate about human rights, the environment, and culture, and has a particular interest in refugee rights. Katie has written for a range of publications, including HuffPost, i News, New Internationalist, Resurgence Magazine, Reader’s Digest, and Big Issue, and is the former co-editor of the Lush Times magazine. She has a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Birmingham and an MA in Journalism from Bournemouth University, where she focused her research on the ethical storytelling of refugee issues.
When: Tuesday 30 May 2023, 1.00-2.00pm BST
Tickets: Book tickets here