Mai Ghoussoub was a woman who lived with one foot in the East and one in the West, who embodied cosmopolitanism, and who was deeply committed to freedom of expression.
Drawing on her own extraordinary experiences as well as on political and historical events, this collection brings together for the first time some of her finest writings – on war, politics, sexism, martyrdom, the arts, censorship, exile and the city. Essays sit alongside short stories, poetry, plays and letters, all enlivened with her signature humour and enduring compassion.
Whether she’s extolling the pleasures of cooking or defying political hypocrisy, her voice – always clear and true – restores our faith in humanity.
About the Author
Mai Ghoussoub, artist, author and playwright, left Beirut for London in 1979, where she co-founded Saqi. Her art has been exhibited internationally, and her play Texterminators was performed in London, Liverpool and Beirut in 2006. Her many publications include Leaving Beirut, Imagined Masculinities, with Emma Sinclair-Webb, and Artists and Vitrines, with Shaheen Merali. Her stories have appeared in Hikayat: Short Stories by Lebanese Women and Lebanon, Lebanon. She was a regular contributor to al-Hayat and openDemocracy.
‘An independent-minded, courageous and rebellious woman.’
‘A tour de force in Arab literature and letters. A writer, artist and publisher who took her passion for life, controversy and feminism to the streets of Beirut and London.’
‘Seeing her around Beirut or London, at exhibitions or performances or festivals, was like catching sight of Debbie Harry in New York.’
The Daily Star
‘Mai Ghoussoub weaved together elements of her Arab heritage and an avant-garde sensibility to make bold, provocative statements as a publisher, author, sculptor, journalist and playwright.’
The New York Times