Najwa Binshatwan, acclaimed author, in Residence at St Aidan’s College


St Aidan’s College and the Banipal magazine of modern Arab literature supported a three-month residency for the Libyan novelist and academic, Najwa Binshatwan. During her residency, Najwa lived, wrote and shared her work with the College and the wider university community. The day-to-day conversations afforded by this provided fascinating insights for students and staff into the realities of Arab cultures in all their diversity and vibrancy.

Najwa shared her lived experiences and challenges as a woman writer fleeing from oppression within Ajdabiya and reflected on the inspiration provided by the College, Durham and the North East of England. She is currently seeking publication for a collection of short stories inspired by her time in Durham.

Najwa is the author of The Slaves' Pen, which was shortlisted for IPAF 2017 (aka Arabic Booker). In 2003, she received the Arab Creativity Prize at the Sharjah Festival, and her novel The Horses' Hair won the inaugural Sudanese al-Begrawiya Festival prize, when Sudan was Capital of Arab Culture in 2005. She was chosen as one of the 39 best Arab authors under the age of 40 by the Beirut39 project and her story The Pool and the Piano was included in the Beirut39 anthology, which was published by Bloomsbury in 2010. Her work is also featured in Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations, which was published by Commapress earlier this year, and showcases new works by previously un-platformed writers. Banthology brings together specially commissioned stories from the original seven nations ‘banned’ from the USA, providing a platform to voices the current White House would rather remained silent.


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