Culture Weekly

Spreading the word

June 29 - July 5, 2022
Gulf Weekly Spreading the word
Gulf Weekly Spreading the word

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

People all over the world can now enjoy reading Rasool Darweesh’s Arabic Dilmunia book in English, with translations in other languages to come. The Bahraini novelist from Karzakan is delighted to be able to share his 400-page book about Adam, an intrepid adventurer, with more readers, and aims to translate his work in German and French as well to cover more shelves and countries too.

“I want to spread Bahraini literature to the world,” explained Rasool, who is also a critic and translator. “Dilmunia was first published in 2016, while the second edition was in 2021 and the English edition by Olympia Publisher was in UK in 2021. Dr Mohammed Al Khozai, thankfully, translated Dilmunia for me into English. I want my novel to be internationally known. It is being translated into German and French by a professor from Bahrain University as well.”

According to the synopsis, Dilmunia is set in the mid-18th century, within the rich landscapes of the Arabian Gulf and the tale is told from several perspectives. However, it mostly focuses on Adam who sets out to chronicle the history of the mysterious burial mounds of Dilmunia, an ancient island off the coast of Bahrain.

During Adam’s travels, he witnesses the destructive force of greed in humans. He then becomes entangled with the beautiful Khowla, whose father falls victim to the plans of a power-hungry merchant. Adam then balances between his love for Khowla and a duty to save her father, and his desire to know the nature of the human soul through his travels.

“This story is an epic, often tragic tale, interwoven with the teachings of the Quran and its insightful reflections on the essence of what it is to be human,” said Rasool, who graduated from University of Bahrain (UoB) with a bachelors in English literature and a diploma in education.

He has been teaching English since 1993 and worked as a trainer for a motoring company for four years, as well as a lecturer at the College of Health Sciences and many other educational institutes. He also worked as a journalist, a translator and an editor of international political news.

While he is proud of this novel, it isn’t his first, as he first started writing them in 2009.

“I’ve written seven Arabic novels,” he said. “I translated two of them Shahnamah and The Soul of The King which are being published currently in the UK. I also wrote two critical books called The Booker Prize and The Identities in co-operation with UoB lecturer Dr Mai Al Sadah. Moreover, I translated 15 international poems in Love and Peace, a book published last May.”

He just finished writing another called Victim 69.

“In the near future I aim to translate into English and publish all the novels that I have written over the last decade,” he added. “I would like to thank my closest friends, especially Dr Mohamed and Dr Mai for their co-operation and supporting me. Also, I’m deeply grateful to Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (Baca) president Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Culture and Arts director general Shaikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, as well as Noora Al Khalifa and Aysha Al Sadah who have all helped on my literary adventure.”

Follow @rasool_darweesh on Instagram.

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