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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,

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Episode 190: Where Do Flat Earthers Think the Edge Is?

Photo attribution:
Trekky0623, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Just the hosts this week here with an unedited personal catch-up episode (Do y’all like these? Let us know!) 

Ellie talks about getting COVID (finally) and lots of things wrong with the world: from the overturning of Roe v. Wade to Mohammed Bin Salman’s continued financial takeover of the video game industry (this leads to a conversation about which countries are the best at glossing over shit, and we wonder if we’re all in a Dubai-based replica of our lives). 

Nadia talks about their time in Turkey and Lebanon, and how time functions differently off the New York grid. They also talk about previous projects they were working on, including immortal jellyfish, “Gawd” as a middle manager, and dabke at pride.

Alia discusses leaving a “queer” orchestra group due to transphobia and unchecked white privilege among leadership, and finding other music opportunities. She also talks about her trip to London following a death in the family. 

We all talk about being deeply burnt out – which is one reason we’re not publishing as much lately – but it is good to be back!

(By the way, just a cute little update: 3 days after recording this, Alia tested positive for COVID.)

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