'The Baghdad Clock': A Book Talk with the Author and Translator


Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


CMES, Rm 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies presents

The Baghdad Clock coverShahad Al Rawi, author of The Baghdad Clock, short-listed for the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), and

Luke Leafgren, translator The Baghdad Clock

About The Baghdad Clock: It's 1991 and the Gulf War is raging. Two girls, hiding in an air raid shelter, tell stories to keep the fear and the darkness at bay, and a deep friendship is born. And while the city collapses around them, the sanctions bite and friends begin to flee, life goes on. People tend their gardens, go dancing and celebrate weddings, and the girls share their dreams, desires, school routines and first loves.

In her brilliant debut novel, Shahad Al Rawi takes readers beyond the familiar images in the news to show the everyday struggle of Baghdad's people, revealing the reality of growing up in a war-torn city that's slowly disappearing in front of your eyes.

Shahad Al Rawi is an Iraqi writer, born in Baghdad in 1986. She completed secondary school in Baghdad before moving with her family to Syria. She currently lives in Dubai, where she is studying for a PhD in Anthropology and Administration. The Baghdad Clock, her first novel, was published in 2016 and has been translated into English by Luke Leafgren for Oneworld Publications, who published it in May 2018. The Baghdad Clock was short-listed for the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction and won the 2018 First Book Award at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Luke Leafgren received a PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, where he teaches Arabic language and translation while also serving as the Allston Burr Resident Dean of Mather House. The Baghdad Clock is his fourth translation. Previous translations include Oh, Salaam! by Najwa Barakat and The President's Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli, which was recognized with the 2018 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.

Co-sponsors: International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF); Department of Comparative Literature, Near East Languages & Civilizations, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
Contact: Liz Flanagan