Spotlight on: Mahmoud Saeed

This Tuesday, join the DePaul Humanities Center in a very special event with one of DePaul’s visiting writers. Iraqi writer Mahmoud Saeed is marking the release of his newest novel in translation, The World Through the Eyes of Angels with readings from his writings and a round table discussion with Saeed and DePaul faculty members Nesreen Akhtarkhavari (Modern Languages), Carolyn Goffman (English), and Michael McIntyre (International Studies). The event will take place Tuesday, January 31st in room 314 of the Student Center. It will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., and the reading and conversation will start at 6 p.m. 

Mahmoud Saeed is Visiting Fellow/Writer in Residence at the Humanities Center, and also teaches courses in the department of Modern Languages.  A prominent and award-winning Iraqi novelist, he has written more than twenty novels and short story collections. He was born and raised in Mosul, one of the oldest cities in the world, and was imprisoned several times by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saeed left Iraq in 1985 after the authorities banned the publication of some of his novels, including Zanka bin Baraka (1970), which went on to win Iraq’s Ministry of Information Award in 1993.

Saeed’s first novel translated into English was 2004’s Saddam City (translated from the original title, I Am the One Who Saw). His best-known work, Saddam City is based on his experiences as a political prisoner in Iraq. Claudia Ruth Pierpong gave Saddam City the following review in The New Yorker:

“For all the horror it details, this is a startlingly warm and humane book….the long ordeal is mitigated, both for him and for the reader, by a dose of bitter humor, a share of personal good will, and the mutual trust he discovers among the prisoners….Saeed’s style is plain and direct, without literary pretensions, but with a tone of emotional delicacy that is as odd in the circumstance as it is touching.”

His latest translated novel, The World Through the Eyes of Angels, was the winner of the King Fahd MEST Center for Arabic Literature Translation Award in 2011.

DePaul is very fortunate to have this talented and internationally praised author among our visiting faculty. Tuesday’s reading promises to be a unique opportunity to hear a writer’s perspective on the culture and history of a part of the world that many of us know primarily through war reportage.

The event is free and open to the public.


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