Sinan Antoon, Literature and Surveillance: A Reading and Conversation with Olivier Morel


Location: Live on Zoom


Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, scholar, and translator. He was born in Baghdad and left Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. He holds degrees from Baghdad, Georgetown, and Harvard where he earned his doctorate in Arabic Literature in 2006. He has published two collections of poetry and four novels. His works have been translated into thirteen languages. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence won the 2012 American Literary Translators’ Award. His translation of his own novel, The Corpse Washer, won the 2014 Saif Ghobash Prize for Literary Translation and was longlisted for the International Prize for Foreign Fiction. Two of his novels were shortlisted for the Arabic Booker. His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave, 2014) and articles on Mahmoud Darwish, Sargon Boulus, and Saadi Youssef. He returned to his native hometown in 2003 to co-direct About Baghdad, a documentary about Baghdad after dictatorship and under occupation. He has published op-eds in The GuardianThe New York TimesThe Nation and various pan-Arab publications. His latest novel, The Book of Collateral Damage was published by Yale University Press in 2019. He is an Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at New York University and co-founder and the editor of the Arabic section of Jadaliyya.

This conversation will feature the discussant, Olivier Morel, Joint Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, and be moderated by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.  Event page can be found here.

A French and American scholar and filmmaker, Olivier Morel is the director of several feature-length nonfiction films (documentaries) and the author of essays including one graphic novel with the artist and writer Maël. His academic work, as well as his films, highlight the importance of creation and the arts (music, literature, cinema, photography) in the perception of historical events. He is a joint associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile, and Resistance, launched by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, is a research collective and lecture series co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and housed at the newly launched Initiative on Race and Resilience, directed by Mark Sanders, Professor of English and Africana Studies. The series focuses on contemporary literature, film, and visual art that has been shaped by revolutionary and resistance movements, decolonization, migration, class and economic warfare, communal and state-sanctioned violence, and human rights violations. We aim to theorize new modes of contemporary literary and artistic resistance across national borders and to amplify the voices of scholars, artists, and writers of color whose lived experience is instrumental in forging new alliances across formal, linguistic and national boundaries.