Since the Fall of 2016, IMES’s Senior Academic Advisor and Arabic Instructional Assistant Mitchell Ford has run the Arabic Book Club at GW. Open to all GW students studying Arabic, the book club was created to give students the opportunity to engage with modern Arabic literature by authors from across the Arab World. The club’s first book was Sayyidi wa Habibi (My Master and My Love) by Lebanese author Hoda Barakat. Mitch cites the books editor, Laila Familiar, as his inspiration for the creation of the club because of her work to make Arabic literature more accessible to non-native speakers through her abridged editions. For many intermediate Arabic learners the literary language used in Arabic writing makes the books inaccessible. Mitch hopes that this club will enable students to learn and discuss the ideas and themes in the books as they would with any regular reading group – while also learning important vocabulary and grammatical constructions.
Since last year, the club has read Alaa Al-Aswany’s Imarat Yacoubian (The Yacoubian Building) and Tayeb Salih’s Mawsim al-Hijra ila al-Shamal (Season of Migration to the North). Mohamed Choukri’s al-Khubz al-Hafi (For Bread Alone) is planned for the Fall 2017 semester. The summer sessions, which will continue to be open to both students and alumni, are intended to engage more difficult texts than those tackled during the academic year. Meetings are generally held on Saturday mornings at the Elliott School. If you are interested in joining the Arabic Book Club, please contact Mitchell Ford at (202) 994-1545 or email@example.com.