Past Event

The Monotonous Chaos of Existence

February 16, 2022
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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The Monotonous Chaos of Existence

Our virtual series of book talks features Arab authors to showcase some of the breadth and diversity in Arab fiction writing. We invite you to connect with the authors as they delve into a riveting discussion of the sociocultural, literary, and personal factors that shape their storytelling.

This event features Ursula Lindsey in conversation with author, Hisham Bustani. The stories within Bustani's The Monotonous Chaos of Existence explore the turbulent transformation in contemporary Arab societies. With a deft and poetic touch, Bustani examines the interpersonal with a global lens, connects the seemingly contradictory, and delves into the ways that international conflict can tear open the individuals that populate his world - all while pushing the narrative form into new and unexpected terrain.


Hisham Bustani

Hisham Bustani is an award-winning Jordanian author of five collections of short fiction and poetry. Much of his work revolves around issues related to social and political change, particularly the dystopian experience of post-colonial modernity in the Arab world. Hisham’s fiction and poetry have been translated into many languages, with English-language translations appearing in numerous journals and collected in a myriad of anthologies. The U.K.-based cultural webzine The Culture Trip listed him as one of Jordan’s top six contemporary writers. Hisham's book The Perception of Meaning (Syracuse University Press, 2015) won the University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. He is the recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Fellowship for Artists and Writers for 2017.

Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is a journalist and literary critic. She has lived in Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan. Ursula writes for The New York Review of Books and co-hosts the BULAQ podcast, which focuses on Arabic literature in translation. Previously, she was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. Ursula was an editor of The Arabist blog, reported from Egypt for many years for the BBC-PRI radio program, The World, and covered the Arab Spring for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online and the London Review of Books. From 2011 to 2014, she was the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent.