As part of ‘Celebrating Syria' Festival 2018, on 12 October 2018, Dr Alessandro Columbu of Manchester University presented a talk on the life and oeuvre of the Syrian short story writer Zakaria Tamer. Widely considered the father of the modern Syrian short story, Tamer’s works have influenced entire generations of Arab writers and readers. Dr Columbu addressed Tamer’s trajectory both thematically and chronologically. Passages from his short stories were read by actress Nadia Emam. The talk stimulated a great discussion on modernity, gender roles and authoritarianism in contemporary Syrian literature. Manchester-based actress Nadia Emam read a selection of Tamer’s short stories (in English) during the talk.
Dr Alessandro Columbu
Alessandro Columbu completed his PhD in modern Arabic literature at the University of Edinburgh in 2017, and is currently an Arabic language tutor at the University of Manchester. Originally from Sardinia, he obtained his BA and MA from the University of Bologna.
He learnt Arabic in Damascus and Tunis and has studied at the University of Barcelona, SOAS and the French Institute of the Near East of Beirut and Amman. His translation of Zakaria Tamer’s Taksir Rukab, published in October 2015 by Condaghes, was the first book to have ever been translated from Arabic into Sardinian.
Nadia is a British-Egyptian actress who has worked with various theatre company such as Slug Low, Take Back and the Royal Exchange.