INDIANAPOLIS — Award-winning novelist Randa Jarrar will conclude the fall Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series with a presentation at the Herron School of Art & Design Basile Auditorium as part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Jarrar grew up in Kuwait and Egypt and moved to the United States after the first Gulf War. Her first novel, “A Map of Home,” was published in half a dozen languages and won a Hopwood Award and an Arab-American Book Award. Barnes and Noble Review named it one of the best novels of 2008.
In 2010, the Hay Festival and the Beirut UNESCO’s World Capital of the Book named Jarrar one of the Beirut 39 — the 39 most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40. Her work, which includes short stories and essays, has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, the Oxford American, Ploughshares and Five Chapters.
IUPUI is hosting the inaugural Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 at University Library, 755 W. Michigan St. In conjunction with Jarrar’s reading and the symposium, Herron is exhibiting its “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” collection.
On March 5, 2007, in the middle of the Iraq war, a car bomb killed dozens and injured more than 100 people. The bomb also devastated al-Mutanabbi Street, a busy avenue of cafés and bookstores that had served as a meeting place for generations of writers and thinkers.
In response to the attack, San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil rallied a community of international artists and writers to produce “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,” a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides (poster-like works on paper), artists’ books (unique works of art in book form) and an anthology of writing focused on expressing solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers.
“Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” includes 260 artists’ books, a publication titled “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s ‘Street of the Booksellers,'” plus 130 broadsides — one for every person killed or injured in the 2007 bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street.
The Herron Art Library at IUPUI will serve as one of only three repositories in the world — and the only U.S. location — to permanently host the complete Al-Mutanabbi Street collection. The symposium is the first of three biennial conferences IUPUI will sponsor to explore the themes and implications of the collection through papers, panels, posters and presentations.
Visitor parking for Jarrar’s reading is available in the North Street Garage, 819 W. North St.; the Vermont Street Garage, 1004 W. Vermont St.; and the Sports Complex Garage, 875 W. New York St.
The reading is co-sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in collaboration with the Reiberg Family and several IUPUI academic units: Herron School of Art & Design, the IU School of Liberal Arts, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Academic Affairs, University College and University Library.