|Soap House Entrance|
|Beautiful display of soaps|
|A view to old Amman|
Mintaad) and so by April I will have completed the list. Of course, these books are in the Arabic language but previous years have proven that prizes such as this one have not only elevated the profile of Arab authors but translations into different languages have been secured allowing for wider recognition and readership.
One of my favourite evenings (and there were many) were spent at my sister's house with many of my family members gathered over food (naturally) but also to listen to wonderful music. My niece, nephew and my 10-year-old played beautifully on the piano but the surprise of the evening was when my brother-in-law announced that he had recently been learning to play the Qanun (a type of string instrument essentially a zither with a narrow trapezoidal keyboard). I have included a photo and a small video of his debut performance. For more on the Qanun, click HERE.
So, now as I sit typing this and going over the events of the last week, it all seems like a dream for how fast it seems to have gone by. No matter how much time I spend away from Amman it is always a warm place to return to. It is a country rich with the generosity of its people, their warmth and their intellect. It is such a fantastic place to mingle with all sorts of people. I was lucky to be seated for dinner at the same table with this charming woman whose family were best friends with Egyptian Mohammed Abdel Wahab and who personally checked on her when she was hospitalised in Egypt during her stay there. In another incident I met and chatted to the immediate relatives of Selma Dabbagh (author of 'Out of It') and from asking around at the local bookstore about author Hisham Bustani, it turns out that he is the son of one of my dad's really good friend (Thanks to both of them I gave my first talk at Amman's Rotary Club at the tender age of 23!). Unfortunately I did not get a chance to meet Hisham but maybe on another visit.
And so as I bundle up with a hot water bottle against this arctic blast beating down on London at the moment, my heart feels warm and sentimental and on this note I leave you with my new found hero who thanks to his amazing voice I was able to at last make peace with my fear of flying. My hero is Alfie Boe and the song I choose today is 'In My Daughter's Eyes' and regardless the gender of your child/children I am sure this will strike just the right note. Enjoy!