The Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Center and the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University are pleased to host acclaimed Syrian author Khaled Khalifa for a talk about his most recent novel, Death is Hard Work, and how the Syrian uprisings have impacted his writing and the country he calls home.
The talk is the fourth in a writers' series marking the 10th anniversary of the Arab uprisings. Launched this past December, Ten Years After The Arab Spring has featured the voices of award-winning writers from the Middle East reflecting on the past decade through the lens of their writings and personal experiences.
Death is Hard Work follows three siblings as they embark on a journey through the country's war zones to achieve their father's dying wish - to be buried in his ancestral village of Anabiya. A dogged, absurd quest through the nightmare of the Syrian civil war, the novel is a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with little more than simple determination.
Khaled Khalifa will be in conversation with award-winning novelist Elliot Ackerman.
Photo by Yamam Alshaar
Khaled Khalifa was born in 1964 near Aleppo, Syria. He studied law at Aleppo University and actively participated in the foundation of Aleph magazine with a group of writers and poets. A few months later, the magazine was closed down by Syrian censorship. Active on the arts scene in Damascus where he lives, Khalifa has written numerous screenplays and is the author of several novels, including In Praise of Hatred, which was short-listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and No Knives in the Kitchens of This City, which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2013. His most recent novel, Death is Hard Work, was a finalist for a National Book Award in Translated Literature.
Elliot Ackerman is the author of the novels 2034, Red Dress In Black and White, Waiting for Eden, Dark at the Crossing, and Green on Blue, as well as the memoir Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and non-fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize among others.
His writing often appears in Esquire, The New Yorker, and The New York Times where he is a contributing opinion writer, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Travel Writing. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.
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