Beyond the Books with Persa Koumoutsi
In an evening suffused with the allure of literature and cross-cultural insights, the Ant Bookstore & Cafe in Clifton, NJ, hosted the magnificent “Beyond the Books” event on September 20th, featuring the award-winning writer and literary translator, Persa Koumoutsi.
It was an evening where the soft hum of eager conversations and the aromatic scent of freshly brewed coffee intermingled, setting the tone for a truly enlightening discussion. The event drew a diverse crowd, a testament to the profound impact of literature that transcends borders.
Koumoutsi, with a remarkable repertoire of having penned 9 novels and translated over 80 seminal works in Arabic and English, was the star of the evening. Her translations, which include “Anthologies of Modern Arabic Poetry,” masterpieces by Naguib Mahfuz, and “Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance” by Fethullah Gulen, are a testament to her dedication to promoting intercultural dialogue.
Throughout the evening, she shed light on her experiences and inspirations, emphasizing the potency of literature as a bridge between cultures. The bookstore reverberated with her insights on the critical role literature plays in fostering understanding and dismantling cultural barriers. Her involvement in projects and collaborations with European universities underscored her commitment to the cause of multiculturalism.
What was truly heartwarming was the engagement of the participants. The atmosphere was charged with curiosity, with attendees keenly participating in the discourse, asking questions, sharing their personal experiences, and expressing their admiration for Koumoutsi’s vast body of work.
A recurring theme of the night was the concept of “understanding the others.” Koumoutsi’s eloquent discourse on this topic highlighted the universality of human experiences and emotions, a sentiment that resonated deeply with the audience.
As the evening came to a close, it was evident that “Beyond the Books” was not just an event; it was a celebration of literature, of shared human experiences, and of the boundless power of words to unite and heal.
For those who were fortunate to attend, the evening with Persa Koumoutsi was more than just an event; it was a journey—a journey through cultures, languages, and shared human narratives. And as the attendees left the Ant Bookstore & Cafe, they carried with them not just the memories of a delightful evening but also the inspiration to look beyond the books and truly embrace the essence of intercultural understanding.
Persa Koumoutsi & Moderator Hakan Yesilova, Chief editor of Fountain Magazine