Shubbak- A window on contemporary Arab Culture

From July 4 – 24, various venues across London are hosting ‘Shubbak,’ a festival of Arab culture. As the program for the festival says, ‘the Arab community has long been a major part of what makes the city exciting,’ and this festival – inititated by London’s Mayor, and the first of its kind in Europe,  shows that the creative achievements of London’s Arabic community stretch far beyond the Edgware Road (the vibrant part of London where you can drop in at a shisha bar, grab a kebab and glass of delicious mint tean and otherwise indulge in a taste of Arab life in London 24/7).

Many events are free or extremely reasonably priced, and  include Rania Matar’s ‘A Girl and her Room,’ – candid portraits of teenage girls from USA, Palestine and Lebanon (until July 22) and next Wednesday, July 13, you can catch two more free events: ‘The Arabs: A history,’ explores Arab identity from Ottomanism to Islamism with Eugene Rogan, the author of the book of the same name. It’s at Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road at 6.30pm, and at the same

 time at the Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Roadd, is ‘Sex and Power: Seeds of Change in the Arab World’ – a discussion between Britan Whitaker, author of ‘Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East’ and Nesrine Malik. This promises to be a lively affair, centring as it does on how the gay community fares in and amongst the calls for freedom in the Arab world. To find out more about Shubbak, visit


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