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President of the Royal Society of Literature, Marina Warner, is joined in conversation by French-Lebanese author Amin Maalouf. Their conversation, streamed live from London and Paris, will centre around their explorations of birthplace, displacement and return. Maalouf’s novel The Disoriented sees the protagonist return to Maalouf’s native Lebanon, having fled the Civil War, and Marina Warner’s ‘unreliable memoir’, Inventory of a Life Mislaid, explores her early life in Egypt. Whilst these stories look back in time, the themes remain startlingly current in times of rising nationalism – which Maalouf also reflects on in Adrift, a book length essay published last year. Political and social polarization lay behind the 1952 uprising in Cairo, during which Warner’s father’s bookshop was burned down, and, in 1975, sparked the Lebanese Civil War, which forced Maalouf to leave Beirut for Paris.
Join us for a conversation that will move through decades, explore language, and traverse borders.
Amin Maalouf is a Lebanese-born French author who has lived in France since 1976. Although his native language is Arabic, he writes in French, and his works have been translated into over 40 languages. He is winner of the Prix Goncourt and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The Disoriented was published in Frank Wynne’s English translation by World Editions in January 2021.
Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism and history; Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art and Artists came out in 2018; Inventory of a Life Mislaid, a memoir, was published on 4 March 2021 by HarperCollins.
Presented in association with Sheikh Zayed Book Award.