Chicago author Mahmoud Saeed, a native of Iraq, discusses his novel The World Through the Eyes of Angels, along with one of his translators, Allen Salter of Chicago.
Saeed has written more than 20 novels and short story collections, starting with Port Saeed and Other Stories in 1963. That same year, Iraq’s first military-Baathist government seized two of his novels and imprisoned him for a year. After being incarcerated six times, Saeed left Iraq in 1985. He has lived in the United States since 1999, and he now teaches Arabic and Arabic culture at DePaul University.
Saeed’s first novel to be translated into English, Saddam City, was praised by a critic in The New Yorker, who wrote: “For all the horror it details, this is a startlingly warm and humane book.” His second novel to be translated into English, The World Through the Eyes of Angels, was published last December by Syracuse University Press, winning the King Fahd MEST Center for Arabic Literature Translation Award. The novel depicts a sensitive and loving boy assailed by the cruelty of life as he grows up in Mosul, Iraq, in the 1940s. Novelist Marina Lewycka calls it “a lovely haunting book, full of innocence and nostalgia.”
Salter has lived and traveled in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. He has worked as a teacher and translator. Under the pseudonyms Sam Reaves and Dominic Martell, he has published 10 novels.
Recorded Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at The Cliff Dwellers Club.