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Episode 193 [in English]: Barrak Alzaid

Barrak Alzaid is an award-winning writer of memoir, prose, poetry and art criticism, as well as an educator and organizer of artistic community spaces. His current projects include his memoir Fabulous, about queer coming of age in Kuwait, and a speculative fiction novel grappling with the racial, class, and environmental circumstances of near-future Kuwait City (based on his short story “The Runner”). 

Barrak discusses how he aims to move away from the Eurocentric “single author” model of creating art, including the GCC artist collective, which creates group work around the aesthetics of their upbringings in the gulf, and holding physically-based group workshops as part of developing his upcoming novel. He also explains how he’s given other queer and trans “characters” in his memoir agency in how their experiences are described. 

We also talk about the relative gender freedom that’s sometimes allowed in childhood and how that influenced Barrak’s perspective growing up, the misguided optimism that sometimes occurs in the intersection of privilege and marginalization, navigating shifting family relationships, and more!
Photo Credit: Pern Khamwean, https://www.facebook.com/PERNphotography

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