Thursday, September 28, 2006

When Autumn Comes

Last night's reading was the perfect ending to the mini 2-week book tour which began with the official launch of Moments at Albareh Art Gallery on September 14th (already seems decades ago!).

La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Arts is a beautiful place and the evening went on wonderfully, the gallery hall was filled and everything went better than I was expecting. The audience was lovely and the interaction we had following the reading was a real pleasure.

In a candlelit ambiance I read Bow, the first short story I wrote in 1998, and followed it with Fallen Gods. Again, one of the earlier stories of mine. But I ended with the rather unusual story 43, which I dare say is becoming some sort of a cult piece of fiction. Every time I read it, it never failed to raise a few eyebrows and uncertain giggles.

The piece if one of the most random I've written so far. I wanted to write the greatest story ever told – and I truly thought I could – until I realized what an absurd thought it was… and the words that followed that made 43 what it is today.

And if that wasn't enough, there is now talk about turning it into a very very very short film… more on that soon.

But once again thanks to those who took the time to share that evening with me and for everyone who was involved.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Our Brainy Patterns

Your Brain's Pattern
Your mind is a firestorm - full of intensity and drama.Your thoughts may seem scattered to you most of the time...But they often seem strong and passionate to those around you.You are a natural influencer. The thoughts you share are very powerful and persuading.
What Pattern Is Your Brain?

Made me smile that. The bit about the scattered thoughts was spot on!

You can read my review of Roddy Woomble's debut album at Ear Medicine.

I've got a deadline to meet in two days and I'm not even half way through yet. I'm not worried though, no seriously, I'm not.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This Just In...

Reading by Ali Al Saeed at la fontaine centre of contemporary art

At 8.30pm on Wednesday 27th September, Bahraini writer Ali Al Saeed will read from his new novel Moments (Al Maseerah Publishing) at la fontaine centre of contemporary art.

Moments is Ali’s second novel, the first of which, QuixotiQ, also written in English, received the Bahrain Outstanding Book of the Year Award and was a national bestseller. Ali’s second book is a collection of short stories encompassing a variety of themes, from the fairytale world of gods and dreams to the brutal reality of modern terrorism. ‘Ali writes from the inside out, forcing the reader under the skin of his characters to powerful effect,’ says acclaimed American author Shay Youngblood, while George Williams, Editor in Chief of Gulf Daily News, describes his writing as ‘original and magical’.

At la fontaine, Ali will read a selection of stories from Moments, following which he will answer questions and sign copies of his book. This is an opportunity for avid readers and writers alike to engage in an informal discussion about the art, or simply to sit back and listen to stories narrated by their creator.

For more information, please call Melissa or Sharon at la fontaine on 17 230 123 or visit

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wonderful Week

The past week has been a very busy and exciting one. Following the official launch of Moments, I've been working hard to find channels of distribution for Moments not only here in Bahrain, but across the region. There are two of three different options on the table right now and I hope all of them will work out.

That week has also been relatively a successful one in terms of sales. We've already sold, roughly, around 25% of the printed first run. And that basically makes Moments another National Best-seller. The challenge now, of course, is to maintain such consistency.

So once again, thanks for everyone who has purchased their copy of Moments and for every person who had supported me and offered their help and advice. It's really humbling to see so many people expressing willingness to be involved and to support local talents.

One final date remains on the Moments book tour, and that is on September 27th at La Fontaine Art Centre. A special announcement will be made about it in a day or two.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


I would like to start by thanking every single person who came to the launch Thursday night at Albareh Art Gallery and to the book signing today at Booksplus, Seef. Both events went pretty well... and its all thanks to YOU!

The set up at the gallery was very relaxed, simple and informal. I spent most of the time on my feet, walking around the gallery signing copies to people mingling. It was better than being stuck behind a table. The whole evening, even though at the start was a bit chaotic, had a warm feel and friendly to it. Everybody seemed to have had a good time.

The signing at Booksplus was just as good. It started very slowly but then picked up around lunch time and I had a wonderful time interacting with readers and passers by, all of whom had shown genuine interest in my work. I enjoyed those small conversations immensely. And to every person who bought Moments, I cannot thank you enough and hope that you enjoy every moment you spend reading it.

I'm looking forward for more opportunities like that and if you've missed the previous two then don't forget the next event on Wednesday 20th at the Bookcase on Budaiya Highway where I will be signing copies of Moments from 5pm to 6pm. And of course the reading at La Fontaine Art Centre on September 27th at 8pm.

Moments is available on sale at Booksplus (Seef Mall and A'ali Complex), Albareh Art Gallery, and the Bookcase, in paperback, for – get this – JUST BD5!!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

While You're At It

The new interview published in the latest issue of Gulf Weekly here. I just have to clarify something though, down in the footnote my first job should say worker at ice plant (summer job) - my first full-time job was a receptionist at an accounting firm.... sigh, these journalists never check their facts do they!

And it's Josh RITTER!!!

Anyway, if you fancy reading something in Arabic then check out this interview (PDF) which ran in today's Al Wasat Newspaper.

Only hours till launch and my day has started rather quietly.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Counting Down the Moments

The fact that the drilling next door hasn't stopped all morning, me having slept less than 5 hours and going through two very hectic and busy days, all add up to a not so very great feeling. My eyes hurt and I'm still a bit drowsy. Maybe one or two cups of coffee will settle things a little.

In all in all though, I believe things are going pretty well. Yesterday the books were delivered to Booksplus, and the rest will be handed in today. I've finally, after chasing the matter for three days, managed to print the CD covers for the audio book. That wasn't at all a piece of cake.

The book itself, I'm pleased to say, looks quite stunning. The quality is good and the matted cover came out brilliant. It felt great having the actually book, physically in my hands, after so long. To think that the very first story in that collection was written no less than eight years ago is remarkable. I had waited so long to see this book finally in print. And I'm proud of the final result.

Now, I'm about to send it out into the world and see how the world will react to it. I have a feeling it will be a pleasant response. I hope so.

Don't forget to pick up the latest issue of Bahrain Traveler, featuring a 3-page interview with yours truly. The magazine will also publish a review of Moments in the October issue. Here's a sneak snippet…

"Moments is as charming as it is whimsical, deftly toeing the line of the mystical realm. Each story in this anthology is brilliantly written and ingeniously catalogued without any definitive ending, prompting readers to ponder the possibility of myriad varied conclusions. Ali uses abstract narration to effectively express subjective experiences, brilliantly managing to put a
different spin on mundane activities with such poise as to be voraciously read. Reading Moments is akin to embarking on a passage into the proverbial unknown, with Ali in the driver’s seat. So buckle up and prepare yourself for one heck of a ride!" –
Roshelle C. Fernandes, Bahrain Traveler

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Few Lines

I've had an agitated morning and I'm kind of restless.

I think I'm just worrying a bit too much. And I keep thinking I'm forgetting something but never sure what it is. This has been the case for the past couple of days at least. It's as if you're about to go on vacation and have that nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you might forget your passport, or leave the house door open, or be late for your flight.

Regardless, I'm trying to focus on what's on hand. Er, maybe too much?...

In today's GDN Sara Horton writes a few lines on Moments in the paper's monthly book section.

I attended the recent Bahrain Bloggers Gathering (its 22nd edition) two nights ago and I'm glad I did. Meet a bunch of very interesting cool people and talked mostly about movies, filmmaking and literature.

And thanks to that meet-up, the Bahrain Filmmakers Club is now being resurrected. Mahmood has created a new forum which will hopefully help things pick up. So if you have an interest in filmmaking on any level, go ahead and register.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Moments Update

The publisher tells me the inside content of Moments is all printed and ready. All is left is to print the covers and then binding the whole lot. Not too long now!

There was a nice feature interview that ran in the Bahrain Tribune's City Tribune last Thursday, they were the first people to actually publish an image of the Moments cover! Unfortunately the article is not available online.

Earlier today I was interviewed over the phone for the upcoming issue of annual guide Time Out Bahrain. It was a stimulating conversation. Tomorrow I am scheduled for another interview, this time for Gulf Weekly. Oh, there was also a bit mentioned about the launch of Moments in the latest issue of Bahrain This Month, which is out now.

Last couple days I've been mostly working on some promotional material, including designing bookmarks, flyers etc. I'm down at Al Maseerah tomorrow to try and get these printed.