New Nordic Short Stories
Mazen Maarouf and Hassan Blasim
An Iraqi artist has made it an art to display corpses in public places. A man running from three pursuers falls into a hole where he encounters a demon living off of corpses from the Finnish Winter War. The short stories of Hassan Blasim contains a great darkness, but also great talent for satire. The Corpse Exhibition is the name of Blasim’s first short story collection published in Norwegian, a collection that won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize as the first Arabic language writer ever. According to The Guardian, he is probably the best living writer writing in Arabic.
Palestinian Mazen Maarouf has also earned rave reviews and awards for his raw, funny and original short stories. In his collection Jokes for the Gunmen, recently out in Norwegian translation, Maarouf writes about everyday life and difficult relations, above all between fathers and sons, with war and a state of emergency as a backdrop.
Is it possible that the best new Nordic short stories are written in Arabic? Undoubtedly, the best new short stories written in Arabic are written in Nordic countries, by Blasim in Finland and Maarouf in Iceland. This evening, the two of them will visit the House of Literature to read from their short stories and talk to their Norwegian colleague Mikkel Bugge about the Arabic short story craft, linguistic inventiveness and the comical side of war.
The event will be in English and Arabic.