"A truly incredible story," says Ira Glass of This American Life. Kirk Johnson is the author of To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind, a moving, hard-hitting book about the plight of Iraqis who worked—often as interpreters—with the US Army and its affiliates. A memoir and a call to action, the book details his work in Iraq and his struggle to rescue the Iraqis who risked their lives to help rebuild the country, only to be branded collaborators and marked for assassination after being abandoned by the US.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Rayyan Al-Shawaf notes, "Part memoir, part impassioned plea, Johnson's book traces his experiences in Iraq, his personal breakdown, and his struggle to rescue the legions of young, idealistic Iraqis left behind by US administrations plagued by post-9/11 paranoia and gridlock. Because militants continue to kill such people despite the US withdrawal, it is difficult to imagine a book more urgent than this."
Johnson will discuss his book and his organization, The List Project to resettle Iraqi allies. This event is a benefit for the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Levantine Cultural Center, two nonprofits that champion literacy. More.
PALESTINIAN ARTS IN SOUTHLAND OFFER HOPE FOR PEACE
Join us when we present our Middle East book booth and welcome authors Shohreh Aghdashloo, Hussein Banai, Kitty Pilgrim and others at the West Hollywood Book Fair, celebrating its 12th edition on Sunday, September 29th. We will also feature a MIddle East drum circle with frame drums, led by Rowan Storm, along with artist Adnan Hussein. This year's festival will feature literature, art, music, performance and community in an eclectic presentation. The program will welcome treasured Southern California literary luminary, T.C. Boyle, who will present his brand-new collected stories. The ever-entertaining Boyle is sure to be a Book Fair highlight. Many other terrific writers will perform and discuss new and recently published works, including Debbie Reynolds, William Friedkin, Lynda Obst, Victoria Chang, Aaron Hartzler, D.H. Pelligro, Veronica Reyes, and many more to be announced.
The Levantine Cultural Center presents WE ARE IRAQIS, a literary and music tribute for Iraqis and their friends devoted to the beauty of Iraq's culture, in memory of Sufi music maestro Saadoun Al-Bayati, who left earth on July 25, 2013. Authors/editors/contributors of three new or recent books will perform readings. Deborah Al-Najjar and a designated actor (TBA) will introduce us to the anthology We Are Iraqis, while poets Dima Hilal and Sholeh Wolpé will read from the anthology Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here; and novelist Leslie Cockburn will present her exciting new novel, Baghdad Solitaire. Refreshments will be provided and a live musical tribute to Saadoun Al-Bayati will follow the readings. All welcome, but space limited and reservations are strongly suggested, 323.413.2001. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
The Levantine Cultural Center would like to thank and acknowledge the support of Dr. Yasin Al-Khalesi, Barbara Al-Bayati, and Poets & Writers, without whom WE ARE IRAQIS would not be possible.
Award-winning historian and journalist William Dalrymple delivers a masterful account of the infamous First Anglo-Afghan War, drawing striking similarities between the West's first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today.
With access to newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and India—including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies—the author gives us the most immediate and comprehensive account yet of the spectacular first battle for Afghanistan. Read a Guardian review. LCC members should RSVP with the LCC at 323.413.2001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Los Angeles—MAR. 20, 2013] Entering into the Persian New Year, the Levantine Cultural Center presents a masterpiece, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings, a new illustrated edition of the classic work by the great 11th-century Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi. Created by award-winning graphic artist and filmmaker Hamid Rahmanian, this new prose translation of the national epic is illuminated with over 500 pages of illustrations. Rahmanian will share images and text from the book as well as discuss the continued relevance of this powerful classic for a new generation of readers.
Entering into the Persian New Year, the Levantine Cultural Center presents a masterpiece, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings, a new illustrated edition of the classic work by the great 11th-century Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi. This new prose translation of the national epic is illuminated with over 500 pages of illustrations, created by award-winning graphic artist and filmmaker Hamid Rahmanian. The spectacular images in this edition were created from elements culled from thousands of illuminated manuscripts, lithographs, and miniatures dating from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries: each page is a new work of art and exquisite collage of traditional forms. Translated and adapted by Ahmad Sadri, this new edition retells the mythological and epic stories of the original poem in prose format. This event features santoor maestro Hamid Saeidi, and is cosponsored in part by Robert Reza Amin.
My review of The General's Son, by Miko Peled, cannot be separated from what I've come to know about the author. After all, this book is about Peled's own life, and his journey to a new understanding of the conflict that has defined so many of our lives. It is a narrative of the author's transformation from an ardent Zionist, born into a revered military Israeli family, to a human rights activist and advocate of a single binational state.
Readers interested in exploring the Middle East, cultural identity, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, satire, Arab social life and the mind of Sayed Kashua will benefit from picking up his latest novel, Second Person Singular (copies discounted by 10% or 20% for members, available at the Levantine bookstore, call 323.413.2001). Acclaimed novelist Sayed Kashua, the creator of the groundbreaking Israeli sitcom, "Arab Labor," has been widely praised for his literary eye and deadpan wit. His new novel is considered internationally to be his most accomplished and entertaining work yet.
Reviewed By Jordan Elgrably
[This Angelic Land, a novel by Aris Janigian, West of West Books, 2012]
Do you remember the early ‘90s in Los Angeles? Between the riots, the Northridge earthquake, OJ Simpson and the Malibu mudslides, it became an apocalyptic landscape, at once horrific, beautiful, and unforgettable.
Not unlike Beirut during its civil war, 1975-1990.
This Angelic Land is a novel set in Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots—the largest, most destructive civil uprising in American history. Adam Derderian, the central protagonist, is a 27-year-old Lebanese Armenian bar owner. The narrative shifts back and forth from his perspective to that of his brother, a New York-based artist five years his senior. The backdrop is their youth during the Lebanese civil war in Beirut—the longest civil war in modern history.