History may be shaped to suit intolerant beliefs, but the source of ethnic and religious violence today lies elsewhere, Maalouf insists. For many, our wired world where borders have disappeared and distances shrunk is deeply destabilizing: “Globalization has put all of us in a huge public square where everybody feels threatened by everyone else. We need to sort it out, to reach a modus vivendi. We don’t have it yet.”

Arabic Literature (in English)

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair opened this year on April 27, the morning after the International Prize for Arabic Fiction was announced, and closes today. Celebrated “immortal” Lebanese novelist Amin Maalouf was there to accept a Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA):

By Chip Rossetti

maalouf Photo from the SZBA awards ceremony, courtesy SZBA.

In his multiple careers as a novelist, journalist, and historian, Amin Maalouf has examined and interrogated in depth the meaning of identity, as well as the quieter virtues — tolerance, generosity, and an acceptance of complexity — that serve as an antidote to the toxins of hatred, sectarianism, and exclusion that identity can unleash. This week, Maalouf was in Abu Dhabi to accept the Cultural Personality of the Year award for the tenth annual Sheikh Zayed Book Awards. Maalouf sat down for a conversation ahead of the award ceremony on Sunday, May 1, to talk about history, the global…

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