Commonwealth Essays And Studies Journal

Abstract: Alice Munro has been called a writer's writer and many writers both in Canada and internationally do love and admire her work. But Alice Munro is also a reader's writer. She writes with such intelligence, depth and compassion, carrying her readers with her in her explorations of character in search of some kind of understanding, no neat resolutions, just trying to figure things out, in an elegant, moving way. Whenever I see that The New Yorker has a story by Alice Munro, I save it up as a treat, a reliable pleasure, and afterwards, to talk about with friends: what is she doing now? Alice Munro has won virtually every prize available to a Canadian short story writer, from three Governor General's Awards, starting with her very first book, 'Dance of the Happy Shades' in 1968, to the American National Book Critics Circle Award and the Trillium. She's won the Giller Prize twice now. She was the first Canadian to win both the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction and the Rea Award for the short story.

To cite this article: Wachtel, Eleanor. Writers and company [online]. Commonwealth Essays and Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2, Spring 2015: 89-104. Availability: <;dn=355334892309605;res=IELLCC> ISSN: 0395-6989. [cited 14 Mar 18].

Call for contributions

Commonwealth Essays and Studies, Spring 2017

The Anglo-Arab Literary World in Comparison

As Nouri Gana pointed out in his 2012 edition of The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English, Arab literature in English is not a new phenomenon and can be traced back to the early twentieth century, with the works of Ameen Rihani and Khalil Gibran. Yet, the story of this branch of literature is not linear. After a long period of silence, it was revived in the late 1990s with the novels of Cairo-born writer Ahdaf Soueif, and its publication rate boomed in the United States and the UK after 9/11 and the beginning of the war in Iraq in 2003. In turn, this editorial success caught the attention of literary critics working in the fields of postcolonial, comparative, and global literatures.

The purpose of this issue of CES is to develop a comparative approach to this literary field, which so far has been studied as a separate entity [1]. Does the label “Anglo-Arab” offer a critically cogent perspective on the corpus? Or is it too broad and can we/should we base our analysis of Anglo-Arab literature by relocating it within national boundaries (i.e. by specifying its relation with North American literature and culture, especially in its relation with ethnicity, with British, Canadian, or Australian literatures)? What do we learn of the poetics and politics of Anglo-Arab literature when compared with literary productions in Arabic or with North African literature in French? Given the neo-colonial and neo-orientalist contexts in which Anglo-Arab writers work, is postcolonial theory relevant to the study of their publications? How do Anglo-Arab writers negotiate the border between creation and reaction? How far are their productions predetermined by political imperatives?

Relevant areas of interest (non-exclusive list):

– Anglo-Arab literature and literary traditions (in English, in Arabic…)

– … and form (prose and poetry; fictional and non-fictional)

– … and the English language (the question of Arabized English)

– … and neo-colonialism, neo-orientalism

– … and politics, poetical freedom, creation and the burden of representation, writing/not writing in states of emergency

– … and postcolonial studies

– … and the global literary market (readership, trends, marketability, the question of “forensic” interest and of “embargoed literature” (Said))

CES is a double blind peer-reviewed journal. Abstracts of 600 words maximum should be sent to guest editor Claire Gallien ( and general editor Claire Omhovère ( before Monday 14 December 2015. A brief bio-bibliographical note (50-70 words) is to be provided separately, along with name, affiliation, and e-mail address.

The abstracts will all go through a double blind peer-reviewing process and the authors will be notified of the results by mid-February 2016 via email. If selected, they will then have until the mid-July 2016 to submit their full articles, which shall not exceed 6000 words (including explanatory notes and Works Cited) and which should follow MLA guidelines for format (see The MLA Handbook, fifth edition, and our own stylesheet below).


[1] See Nouri Gana’s edition of The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English (2012) and the earlier works of Zahia Smail Salhi and Ian Richard Netton in The Arab Diaspora (2006), Geoffrey Nash in The Arab Writer in English and The Anglo-Arab Encounter (2007), Layla Al-Maleh’s edition of Arab Voices in Diaspora (2009), and Syrine Hout in Post-War Anglophone Lebanese Fiction (2012). Waïl S. Hassan’s Immigrant Narratives (2012) is extremely useful as a point of comparison with the Arabic novel in translation.


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