Novelist Salwa Baker Shares Writing Secrets
|Salwa Baker and Professor Maher Jarrar
On March 16, the Anis Makdisi Program in Literature hosted a lecture
in West Hall by renowned Egyptian writer Salwa Baker, who arrived in Beirut
for the first time in 23 years. Professor Maher Jarrar, director of the
program, introduced Baker as "a multi-layered character" who
"adapts the voice of all marginalized women."
"When it comes to talking about writing," said the veteran writer,
"one can only say it is a mysterious process. There are too many
unanswered questions." Baker explained how writers question themselves
several times before they write: "Do I really have something to say?
Does the world really need my input?" Calling herself "a random
writer," she revealed that she had become a writer without ever intending
to become one. Writing, for her, was a way to say what she had to say
"when other means of expression failed."
Born in Cairo in 1949, Baker received a degree in business administration
(1972) and a BA in theater criticism (1976) from the Ain Shams University
in Egypt. She began writing fiction in 1985, after having worked as a
theater and film critic for ten years. To date, she has published seven
novels, seven short story collections, and a play. Her work has been translated
into several languages, including Serbian and Chinese. One of her stories
was adapted for a theatrical performance by the West Shore Community College