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    IAF INTERFICTIONS ONLINE INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN ends above target goal

    Thanks to 277 generous backers for our Interfictions Indiegogo Campaign, we raised $10,318 by the time our campaign ended at midnight, July 14th, 2014.  When we launched on June 3rd, we were staggered to find donations doubling almost daily, until after about 3 weeks we had reached our original target goal of $8,500, and were able to move on to our Stretch Goal of $10,000.

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    INTERFICTIONS issue #3 is up online!

    The editors of Interfictions Online are happy to announce the birth of the journal’s latest issue, on May 22, 2014!

    The Spring 2014 issue’s non-fiction offerings include Mark Craddock’s poignant collage in Aerial Acrobatics and Gender Reassignment Surgery – A How-To Guide, while Inda Lauryn’s Parallels and Transitions splices analysis of contemporary female vocalists into a graduate school memoir. Isabel Yap’s Life Is Not a Shoujo Manga speaks for itself. And in an interview with Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss, the two creators discuss their illustrated guide to writing, Wonderbook.

    The fiction offerings remix tropes from ghosts to automata, with new work by Richard Butner, Su-Yee Lin, Kat Howard, Tade Thompson and S. Craig Renfroe Jr.

    Several of the poems in this issue reimagine older narratives: Sridala Swami’s AI Winter draws on the Mahabharata, Sonya Taaffe’s Double Business on Hamlet, and Mary Alexandra Agner’s Hypothesis Between Your Ribs on the brief life of Charles Darwin’s daughter.

    [...]

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  • New Interfictions Zero essay: “Interstitial International? Ibrahim al-Koni and the Question of Genre”
    by Geoffrey | September 19th, 2011 |

    (The next in our series of Interfictions Zero essays is now available in the Projects section of our site: Sofia Samatar’s “Interstitial International? Ibrahim al-Koni and the Question of Genre“. Samatar is a PhD student in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studies 20th-century Arabic literature with a focus on Egypt and Sudan. Her poetry is forthcoming in Stone Telling and Bull Spec, and her debut novel, A Stranger in Olondria, will be released by Small Beer Press in 2012. Here’s an excerpt to get you started, with illustration by the inimitable M. W. Kaluta.

    REMINDER: Interfictions Zero essays appear monthly on this site. We’re accepting rolling submissions for IF0, so if you have an idea for one, please see our Submissions Guidelines.

    Let us know what you think about Samatar’s essay in the Comments section of this post; and see what others have said by reading All Comments.)

    Interstitial International? illustration by Michael William Kaluta
    illustration by M. W. Kaluta

    The pivotal moment of Ibrahim al-Koni’s 1990 novel Nazīf al-ḥajar, translated as The Bleeding of the Stone, is a scene in which the isolated shepherd Asouf undergoes a life-and-death struggle with a waddan, a nearly extinct wild sheep. Asouf begins by hunting this mysterious beast and then, after hanging from a ledge over a gorge for more than a day, is rescued by the very creature he tried to destroy. In that moment, he recognizes the waddan as his dead father. As he makes his way back through the desert, bruised by the battle and tortured with thirst, he enters a liminal space: “There’s another life, between life and death. A third state neither void nor existence. He was in that state now, crawling along the wadi like a snake, his eyes blinded” (64).

    The evocation of a “third state” hints at the novel’s preoccupation with the bridging of the ordinary and the extraordinary, which becomes explicit when Asouf, in order to escape conscription into the Italian army, actually turns into a waddan (73). This miraculous transformation, together with other fantastic elements in the novel, such as gazelles that make covenants with human beings and the horrific cannibal, Cain son of Adam, suggest that it might be useful to read The Bleeding of the Stone as an interstitial text. As far as I know, this has not yet been tried, but the novel has certainly been described as an example of magical realism – in fact, if someone in a group of people who study Arabic literature says “magical realism,” someone else is certain to say “Ibrahim al-Koni.” Magical realism’s strong association with postcolonial writing makes it the obvious choice to describe a work from a former colonial state that resists the conventions of the realistic novel, and such has been the case with al-Koni. Is there room, then, to discuss al-Koni’s works as interstitial? If magical realism and interstitial arts both mix fantasy with conventional reality, if they both encourage revolt against the traditional constraints of genre, and if writers like Angela Carter can be placed in both categories, then why do we need both terms? More importantly, by embracing the concept of the interstitial, do we risk damaging the position of magical realism, through which, especially since the 1982 Nobel Prize award of the grand old man of the genre, Gabriel García Márquez, so many works from around the world have been read, critiqued and taught? In these reflections, The Bleeding of the Stone, the award-winning novel by the prolific al-Koni and the first of his works to be translated into English, will provide not merely a passive testing ground for these theories, but an active model of how one might begin to theorize the interstitial in an international context.

    finish line

    One Response to “New Interfictions Zero essay: “Interstitial International? Ibrahim al-Koni and the Question of Genre””

    1. K. Kohler Says:

      Thank you for this wonderful, insightful, and intelligent essay. I enjoyed your discussion of “the marginalization of the fantastic” especially in relation to non-western texts, and the problematic term of “magical-realism,” or at least in some of its uses. We do indeed need a “language that is not afraid of magic” – well said! I am interested in your connection between our human need to categorize and the othering effect this has on texts that are not fully integrated into present terminology, that is, in the categorizations of our current language. And also, a thank you for introducing me to a new author, Ibrahim al-Koni!

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