Writer Shaima Issa Al-Watani: The woman in the Bahraini story has a prominent presence

A writer, she has won a number of local and Gulf awards, most notably the first place award at the Sharjah Cultural Competition for Gulf Women. During her successful career, she created many books that differed between novel and storytelling, and her works were translated into Spanish and English. Bahraini Shaima Issa Al-Watani, we met in a beautiful dialogue, as the prominent writer told us that she is one of the most prominent and oldest readers of “Madam” and that in her childhood she won the first issue of “My Lady”, in the early eighties.

You have a special archive for “Madam” magazine since childhood, what are the most prominent contents and memories in this archive?

As a child, I watched my mother separate pieces of poetry, wisdom, and stories from newspapers and magazines and paste them into a “notebook,” an archive of what she had read. And because of its high status in me, I imitated what I still have in my archive, which is replete with many articles, columns, and research papers by a range of professors of literature and journalism.

“My Lady” magazine has the lion’s share in this archive and I remember when it was published in 1981, when I was little, my mother brought her first issue, so I read what I could write materials and investigations, and I think that this number is still present in my father’s house with the remaining number of magazines, the one I keep.

Today, my archive contains articles by Abdullah Al-Jafri, Abdullah Bagbir, Fawzia Salameh and a number of outstanding investigations and decoration pages that attract me, pages per week.

Follow more: Literary thefts are books and lost ideas … Who protects them?

The ancient history of Bahrain

Despite its small area, Bahrain embraces various dialects, some of which turn into Sumerian and Assyrian languages. What is the secret of this mixture?

The “Epic of Gilgamesh,” the oldest literary work in Mesopotamia, tells us that Gilgamesh left those places in search of the “flower of immortality” and found it indeed in the land of Dilmun, and the land of Dilmun is only earth. of Bahrain today. This shows the nobility of the history of Bahrain, which stretches back thousands of years, and is directly related to ancient civilizations, both Sumerian and Assyrian.

I remember once, I read a study prepared by an Iraqi scholar on the lexicon of ancient words and found that a number of them are similar to the words of our Bahraini dialect, for example, we use the verb “tmrekh” and by it we mean massage, or massage, a word that comes from the Aramaic language, means the same action.

Although Bahrain has a small area, what sets it apart is the large number of dialects of its people, which vary according to regions of the population, and this can be attributed to its cultural wealth, historical heritage and its connection to different civilizations and languages ​​as well. as well as economic activities, such as trade. All of this introduced many words from several languages ​​into the context of the Bahraini dialects.

Does the Arab production of the historical novel deserve to be appreciated, or has this novel not presented any new and its role is limited only to the distortion of history?

Many Arabic historical novels are worth reading, especially if we consider the efforts made in them by their writers in researching and preparing for their writing, and the hidden aspects they present to Arab readers and their contribution to increasing the stock of intellectual and cultural, but at the same time we can not deny that some novelists, historians do not investigate the accuracy nor make the necessary effort to write a historical novel that deserves attention, so we find that these novels have a style superficial or false, and contain many inaccuracies that distort history and distort it from its truth.

Read more: The best books of Arabic literature

Reading is part of my life, I may not write one day, but it is hard not to read every day

Bahraini women

The presence of women in the Gulf narrative is dominated by oppression and weakness. Is the image of Bahraini women different from these stereotypes?

The woman in the Bahraini story has a special presence and almost no story or story is free from her enriching presence in the narrative events. Literary works portrayed women in various exemplary roles, such as mother, wife, daughter, and girlfriend.

Who feeds literature, fiction or reality?

This is an urgent problem, which I always find myself trapped in. Many literary evidences find themselves reading it and I get a whirlwind: Who comes out in front of “egg or chicken?”! Years ago, in the novel “Cities of Salt”, the writer Abdul Rahman Munif described the character of an old woman, who dies in agony, leaving her city by force with others. I found the same picture years later in the news bulletin of a woman who died before Rafah Crossing, as she tried to cross! There is a closer example of this, when the Corona pandemic broke out, we read a lot about the novel “Eyes of Darkness” that dealt with this pandemic in detail in 1981! In this regard, we can not go beyond Ghassan Kanafani’s novel “Men in the Sun”, the details of which intersect with the death of refugees in the tank of a truck. Of course, the evidence is numerous, but all in the end do not give a definitive answer, and do not specify who feeds whom!

Do you deliberately drag your reader into the maze of questions?

It is said, “Question is the key to knowledge.” Too often I find myself inadvertently presenting my thoughts through questions and queries that would arouse curiosity in the reader’s mind, but I find a convenient way to put it in the same state of mind in which I would like it to be. shared the desired. the state of the storm of ideas. A good writer does not indoctrinate the reader with his thoughts, but rather draws him into the field where he is trying to find the answer.

Follow more: In celebration of International Women’s Day … Books highlight artists neglected by museums


Buying books for me is an indescribable source of happiness

I read “Madam” since my childhood and the magazine shaped my sentimental, awareness and literary taste.

passion for reading

Can you imagine a world without books?

Can man live without water, air, food, or books ?! To me, books are one of the basic ingredients without which life can not go on.

The day I spend without reading, for some circumstances, I find myself anxious, as reading is part of my life. I may not write one day, but it is difficult not to read every day.

Are you passionate about buying books, the mass of waste, what are the manifestations of this waste?

In my library today there are more than 400 books, which have not yet been read, and yet I do not stop buying books, for me having books is a source of indescribable happiness. The issue is not satisfactory, as some believe, but it is an old love for books, which I hold since childhood.

I do not just buy a book, as patients with peplumania do, which is a mental illness related to collecting books. Social networks under the hashtag # What you read – Shayoma.

My personal library catalog currently includes about 2800 books, it is a printed book, in addition to having an electronic library, which contains about 300 books.

Critical reading, do you need special skills and abilities?

Literary criticism has its academic schools and anyone who studies criticism and specializes in it, is supposed to be more capable than others to give specialized and professional criticism of literary works, but this does not prevent the timely exit of some readers. In this aspect. they accumulate experience through continuous reading, therefore are able to elicit critical thoughts worthy of attention, even if dominated by the Impressionist style, and there are readers who are immersed in the world of literature and are engaged in developing skills and their experience through specialized reading of critical books, and in this there is enrichment, which is attributed to him and enables him to deal with literary works in a professional manner.

Follow more: “Bread at Uncle Milad’s table” wins International Prize for Arab Fiction 2022

A good writer does not indoctrinate the reader with his thoughts, but rather draws him into the field in which he tries to find the answer.


Did you design your library, was this your first design experience, or was it preceded by other experiences?

I have studied architecture and specialized in it and during my studies I have designed many engineering projects, including a theater and a center for the rehabilitation of people with special needs, designing my entire house, following the construction works in it, designing lots of its decorations and even furniture, and i still have my readings in engineering and interior design, passion for engineering and writing is one thing for me.

Writing in newspapers, does it take the creator away from continuing his creative project?

Writing in newspapers and magazines has never been a hindrance to my writing of stories and novels. On the contrary, writing articles in particular had the effect of improving and enhancing what I write and readers ’familiarity with Shaima Al Watani’s pen. Today, despite the books I have published, I still practice essay writing with the same enthusiasm.

Follow more: Dubai Future Foundation launches an illustrated story for kids

initiative of banks

You co-founded the Banks of the Word initiative, do individual initiatives still have a significant impact on the cultural movement in Bahrain?

Bahraini society is an educated and aware society, so we find constant encouragement to develop and improve culture, whether through formal or civil efforts. At one time, many distinct initiatives emerged, both official and civil, dealing with the cultural and literary issue, and although they usually clashed with the issue of financial support, they did much for the literary and cultural movement in Bahrain.

The “Speech Banks” initiative is one of the initiatives that was founded with civic efforts by a number of people interested in literature and I am honored to be among them. Despite our will, the echo of what you have given is still going on, as its workers continue to present their literary offerings, each in its own field and location.

Follow more: The Academy of Poetry participates in 252 publications at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Leave a Comment