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The Leader

Nouri Zarrugh et al.

THE LEADER follows three generations of a Libyan family during the reign of Muammar Gaddafi. Moving back and forth in time over the course of nearly forty years, the story traces the ways that violence and repression echo through each member’s life.

Nouri Zarrugh is a Libyan-American writer and illustrator and is currently a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas, where he won the 2016 Keene Prize for Literature for “The Leader.”

Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya, and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Tocqueville, which won the Arab American National Book Award for Poetry. He has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry and co-edited two anthologies of Arab American literature. He won a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2014.

“Zarrugh’s collage-like novella manages to render a heartbreaking and moving story, but also to leave us responsive, and perhaps responsible, for the echoes that never become voices. A beautifully crafted story, The Leader, I believe, will be recognized as a masterpiece among the many buried stories of Libya that will surely come to light. ”  –Khaled Mattawa, Introduction to The Leader

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