Culture & Society
Written By: Raghda Gamal
Article Date: Mar 7, 2009 - 6:59:16 AM
Mohammed Ottman, Dr. Ibtisam al-Mutawakell, Jamal Jubran and Dr. Adel al-Shujaa discussed some Yemeni novels
Novels now make up the largest portion of Yemeni literature. The popularity of novels today has given rise to greater discussion concerning literature and on Tuesday, the al-Afif Cultural Foundation decided to hold a critical reading of three of Yemen’s latest novels.
The titles included in the discussion were; “Black Smell…Black Taste” by Ali al-Moqry, “Convulsion Almost Noticed!” by Mohammed Ottman, and “Code Blue” by Marwan al-Ghafoory. The panel was made up of Dr. Ibtisam al-Mutawakell, Jamal Jubran, Dr. Adel al-Shujaa and the author Mohammed Ottman.
Al-Mutawakell launched the symposium by praising the three works, and by expressing her admiration for the three talented authors.
“Black Smell…Black Taste” raised a lot of argument and discussion during the symposium. Jubran discussed the great style of al-Moqrys’ writing, and the sad theme which just proved Yemen remains an unjust country for certain minorities. Yet, Al-Shujaa believed the novel did little to help Al-Akhdaam society, and actually did more to hurt them.
Next for review was “Convulsion Almost Noticed!” The review took more time, as al-Shujaa explained that the symbolism referred to in the novel was shown clearly in the title. The convulsion referred to in the novel, was the globalization unfelt in Yemen.
For Al-Shujaa, the novel was packed full of paradoxes starting with life and death and ending with the notion that it is poor people that want to read the expensive books. He praised the high quality of techniques used by Ottman in his writing, and added that refraining from the use of sexual scenes should be seen as a positive nowadays, as writers simply add them to grab more readers.
Ottman also discussed his experiences as a writer. He believed that in every work, the character of the writer must flow along the surface. He also added that when he wrote this novel, he didn’t care about the opinions of his friends or readers; he wrote it for himself in first place.
In agreement with Ottman’s opinions regarding the writers’ character, Jubran believes that “Code Blue” could be a biography for Al-Ghafoory in some way.
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