Iraq + 100
Stories from a Century after the Invasion
Book type: Anthology
Published: 17 Nov 2016
Iraq + 100 poses a question to ten Iraqi writers: what might your country look like in the year 2103 – a century after the disastrous American- and British-led invasion, and 87 years down the line from its current, nightmarish battle for survival? How might the effects of that one intervention reach across a century of repercussions, and shape the lives of ordinary Iraqi citizens, or influence its economy, culture, or politics? Might Iraq have finally escaped the cycle of invasion and violence triggered by 2003 and, if so, what would a new, free Iraq look like?
Covering a range of approaches – from science fiction, to allegory, to magic realism – these stories use the blank canvas of the future to explore the nation’s hopes and fears in equal measure. Along the way a new aesthetic for the ‘Iraqi fantastical’ begins to emerge: thus we meet time-travelling angels, technophobic dictators, talking statues, macabre museum-worlds, even hovering tiger-droids, and all the time buoyed by a dark, inventive humour that, in itself, offers hope.
Translated by Jonathan Wright, Elisabeth Jaquette, Andrew Leber, Katharine Halls, Emre Bennett, Adam Talib, and Max Weiss.
With support from The British Institute for the Study of Iraq and English PEN.
One of NPR's Great Reads of 2017 (US Edition)
One of The Guardian's Best SF and Fantasy Books of the Year 2016
One of Tor.com's Reviewers' Choice: Best Books of 2016 - "...the ways in which certain writers turn aggression, invasion, and resistance on their heads will leave you questioning some of your core assumptions about the world beyond our borders."
One of World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations of 2016
One of Barnes&Noble's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Collections and Anthologies of 2016 - "One of the year’s most important speculative anthologies is also a venue for voices that most Westerners have likely never encountered before."
'Compelling, mind-expanding fiction.' - Guy Gunaratne, author of In Our Mad and Furious City (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018)
'A gamechanging giant leap for Iraqi futurism.' - Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction
'Dazzling and disorienting, these stories are not just reflections of turmoil, but also yearnings for peace and a connection with Iraq’s past grandeur.' - The Atlantic
"Though art can’t redeem history, let alone bring much solace, the most artful stories in Iraq + 100 can show what is specifically strange about the misery and hope that Iraqi writers, their compatriots, and their readers have been left to deal with—in the here and now, and for centuries to come." - Mazin Saleem, Strange Horizons
'A testament to creativity and imagination' - Arab News
"The futures imagined in these stories don’t necessarily cohere ideologically. This makes Iraq + 100 an especially electrifying read. One gets the sense of being present at the birth of a literary movement, with all the freedom and experimentation that entails." - Jordan Williams, American Microreviews and Interviews
"The writers balance dark humour and despair with a frail thread of hope for the future of Iraq... The writers featured in this collection promise to define Iraq’s present through daring, lucid visions of its future." - Sara Ramey, World Literature Today
"I admire the achievement of this collection greatly, and I want it to be read, and celebrated, and supported. Iraq + 100 is painful, difficult, and necessary; it's often beautiful, always harrowing." - NPR
"If the world needs any book right now, it’s Iraq + 100" - Rachel Cordasco, Speculative Fiction In Translation
"The anthology offers a vital platform for juxtaposing autonomous visions of the future without fear of failure or repercussion. It is a bold initiative that is fundamentally about reclaiming the licence to dream, having the courage to maintain hope in the face of uncertainty, loosening the straitjacket of despair about the past and having the audacity to imagine alternate realities that transcend the stark truth of the present." - Yasmin Kahn, The National
"Iraq is often portrayed as a place that has always been violent and always will be. By germinating new narrative possibilities, Iraq + 100 provides new ways of imagining the next century that go beyond seeing the present as eternal." - M. Lynx Qualey, In These Times
"It is certainly a success." - William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News
"Frustrated by the dearth of speculative fiction coming from the Arab world and galvanised by the chaos enveloping Iraq in the wake of the US/UK occupation, in late 2013 the celebrated writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim invited his fellow Iraqi fictioneers to reorient their imaginations toward the future. The result, Iraq +100: Stories From a Century After the Invasion, is a landmark anthology of short stories in a scintillating variety of genres and tones, a book of riveting ulterior visions offering, as Blasim and publisher Ra Page intended, powerful insights into contemporary Iraqi experience." - Naomi Foyle, THRESHOLDS
See how the book blew up on Twitter.
"If there is one consistent thread to Iraq +100, it is not that a nation-state cynically devised by the colonial British is liable to fracture or instability, nor that the powerful or influential are prone to tremendous corruption and incompetence, nor that history can be successfully erased nor even that it cannot be. Rather, it is that humanity is manifold and resilient, and Iraqis understand that better than most." - Shaun Green, Interzone 268
"Science fiction is one way of reflecting on human society and naturally the cultural background of the author lends a unique flavour to stories." - Pranay Parab, Gadgets 360
"Unlike almost every other book you will find out there about Iraq right now, the ambitious new short story collection Iraq + 100 has little to say directly about all the nation’s recent wars. This is somewhat remarkable... Still, any opportunity for Iraqi writers to get together and write about something besides the wars, even if that trauma shadows each word in this book to some degree, must be seen as a kind of victory." - Chris Barsanti, The Millions
"I felt the raw emotions of a people who have only recently been allowed to publicly dream of a brighter future and that alone would make this book a worthy read. Luckily, however, there are a myriad of other reasons why you should read this. You might even discover a new level of compassion or empathy for a war-torn people who stand among the ashes of their forefathers and dare to look up." - Geeks of Doom
Featured in Asharq Al-Awsat, the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper.
Featured in print and online in the Arts section of Italian weekly Pagina99.
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Read contributors Anoud and Ali Bader, plus Arabic literature specialist M. Lynx Qualey (Arab Lit), and author Robin Yassin-Kassab discuss Iraq + 100, and Arabic science fiction and wider literature in this roundtable feature in Strange Horizons.
Featured in BBC Radio 4 Open Book look back at the literary year and one of the key translated titles of 2016 - listen to the program here
'A chance to laugh in the gutter' - Hassan Blasim talking to BBC World News.
Listen to Anoud and Hassan Blasim discuss science fiction in Iraq on the BBC World Service
BBC Arabic conducted a Facebook live video interview with Hassan Blasim at London Literature Festival on the 15th October: WATCH HERE (in Arabic without English subtitles unfortunately)
BBC News interviewed Hassan Blasim, Anoud and Diaa Jubaili (the only author from the collection who lives permanently in Basra) about their stories in the anthology and what they believe the anthology says about the current state of Iraqi society, read the full article here.
Read Parts 1 & 2 of Diaa Jubaili's guest post on the Comma Press blog about short stories and life in Basra today here
See Anoud's article on English PEN about the origins of her story. You can also read an interview with Anoud on the Arabic Literature website in which she discusses her writing, foreign literature and its relationship with culture, and Iraq +100 as a whole collection: Arab Lit. (in English).
Read Warscapes' interview with Ibrahim Al-Marashi, author of the story 'Najufa', where they discuss his short story, freedom of movement, his family lineage, and their shared interest in Star Wars.
The Here and There Podcast with journalist and political commentator Dave Marash interviewed Anoud about Iraq + 100. Listen here.
Why Why Why Podcast with Rudi Dornemann interviewed Anoud and Ra Page about Iraq + 100 (April 2019). Listen here.
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