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A Bed for the King's Daughter (Emerging Voices from the Middle East)

A Bed for the King's Daughter (Emerging Voices from the Middle East)

Current price: $17.60
Publication Date: January 19th, 2021
Ctr for Middle Eastern Studies UT-Austin
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A groundbreaking collection of experimental short fiction by award-winning Syrian author and Booker International Prize for Arabic Fiction nominee Shahla Ujayli, A Bed for the King’s Daughter uses surrealism and irony to examine such themes as women’s agency, the decline of collective life and imagination under modernity, and the effects of social and political corruption on daily life. In “The Memoir of Cinderella’s Shoes,” Cinderella uses her famous glass slipper as a weapon in order to take justice into her own hands. In “Tell Me About Surrealism,” an art history professor’s writing assignment reveals the slipperiness of storytelling, and in “Merry Christmas,” the realities of apartheid interfere with one family’s celebration. Through twenty-two short stories, Ujayli animates—with brevity and inventiveness—themes relevant to both the particularities of life in the Arab world and life outside it.

About the Author

Shahla Ujayli is the author of four novels: The Cat's Eye (2006), which won the Jordan State Award for Literature 2009; Persian Carpet (2012); A Sky Close to Our House (2015), which was IPAF-shortlisted in 2016; and Summer with the Enemy (2018), which was IPAF-shortlisted in 2019. She has also published one other short collection in Arabic, The Latticed Window (2005). The Arabic edition of A Bed for the King’s Daughter (2016) won the 2017 Al-Multaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story awarded by the American University in Kuwait.

Sawad Hussain is the winner of the 2019 Arablit Short Story Prize and an English PEN Translates award. She co-teaches a workshop on translating Arabic comics at UK secondary schools via the collective Shadow Heroes. Her upcoming translations include a Palestinian surrealistic work by Akram Musallam for Seagull Books. She holds an MA in modern Arabic literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Praise for A Bed for the King's Daughter (Emerging Voices from the Middle East)

Don’t let the relatively brief length of this collection fool you—these stories offer readers a fascinating cross-section of styles, tones, and themes. Some grapple with the political and social struggles of the present day, while others address more timeless themes. The end result is a memorable showcase for Ujayli’s skills as a writer.
— Words Without Borders

How do you sharply round out a story that is headed for a cliff? How do you make the sudden feel inevitable, circumventable, then over, as if all at once? Repeatedly, Ujayli manages, if not to square the circle, then to circle the square and so every square within it.
— Chicago Review of Books