The Last Iraqi Communist: Saadi Youssef (1934–2021)
Sinan Antoon considers the life and work of Saadi Youssef....
Sinan Antoon was born in Baghdad and left Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. He earned a doctorate from Harvard in Arabic literature. He has published two collections of poetry and four novels. His works have been translated to thirteen languages. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence won the 2012 American Literary Translators’ Award. His translation of his own novel, The Corpse Washer, won the 2014 Saif Ghobash Prize for Literary Translation. His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave, 2014) and articles on Mahmoud Darwish, Sargon Boulus, and Saadi Youssef. He returned to his native hometown in 2003 to co-direct About Baghdad, a documentary about Baghdad after dictatorship and under occupation. He has published op-eds in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation and various pan-Arab publications. His latest novel, The Book of Collateral Damage was published by Yale University Press in 2019. He is an associate professor of Arabic Literature at New York University.