Hanan al-Shaykh


Born/ Raised: Beirut, Lebanon (1945)

  • Beirut is the capital of Lebanon
  • People from Lebanon are Lebanese
  • Languages spoken in Beirut: Arabic, French, English

Educated: Cairo, Egypt at America College for Girls

Currently Lives: London, England

Who is she?

  • journalist
  • contemporary novelist
  • playwright
  • List of her published books
    • A couple short stories from I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops
      • “The Marriage Fair”
      • “An Unreal Life”

Al- Shaykh on what prompts her to write:

…Personally, I feel at home most when I sit and write. And at the beginning, you know, you usually concentrate on certain feelings you feel about things and then slowly, slowly, you start importing or inhabiting the soul of the characters. You can write about any character. It doesn’t have to be something you experienced or something you felt a great deal about. Like my latest novel, Only in London, one of my heroines, the character [Amira] is a prostitute, and the other one is a Lebanese man [Samir], homesexual. So in a way, I inhabited their soul and it becomes like a craft. Of course, the feelings should be always there. I wanted to use them as a vehicle, to say whatever I wanted to say about the Arab society in England.

  • Interview by Christiane Schlote for The Literary London Journal

Novelist Salman Rushdie interviews Hanan al- Shaykh regarding her passion for writing.

Works Cited:

BBC World News. “The Real Beirut, Part 1.” BBC Travel. YouTube. 28 Jan. 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-lKj7OMtO4

Beydoun, Lina. “Hanan Al Shaykh.” LEBWA. 17 May 2009, http://www.lebwa.org/node/7

Pen America. “Conversation: Salman Rushdie & Hanan al-Shaykh.” YouTube. 13 Aug. 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOXhzlN3jxQ&t=410s

Salibi, Kamal Suleiman. “Beirut.” Britannica. 7 Feb. 2012. https://www.britannica.com/place/Beirut.

Schlote, Christiane. “An Interview with Hanan al-Shaykh.” Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, Volume 1 Number 2 (September 2003). Online at http://www.literarylondon.org/london-journal/september2003/schlote.html. Accessed on 27/11/2016



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s