Theeb audience - Abu Dhabi Film Festival

“Theeb” a quality Jordanian production, in par of “Gravity” and “Life of Pie”


Time flies by fast, I wanted to write this film review almost two months ago after watching the film in Abu Dhabi’s film festival end of October but didn’t have the chance.

I remember that we arrived late to a big hall full of people at the luxurious Emirates Palace on Abu Dhabi. We were rushing despite of my awe of the place with walls tinted with gold, we had no time for that, we wanted to catch the film. But we were not the only ones who were late, the parking lot, elevator, and stairs were full of other Jordanians rushing with us to reach the hall. I was thinking to myself, typical Jordanians, we are always late!

Once we entered the hall and got to our seats, we were mesmerised by the stunning scenery of wadi rum. We missed the first 15 minutes, but something about the image quality on screen captured out attention immediately. Few seconds later and I felt amused by the Jordanian Beduin strong accent which felt familiar and weird at the same time. Later on, I felt myself getting attached to little Theeb and following his adventure in the wilderness of Jordan’s beautiful desert.

To be honest with you, the film felt slow, but that was totally fine because of the scenery that fills the gaps when there is no action.  I do understand that the story was initially written as a short film and could see that now that it is stretched into a full feature. I’d personally classify “Theeb” in the same category of last year’s Sandra Bullock “Gravity” and 2012 Ang Lee film “Life of Pie”. Theeb doesn’t fall short in quality of these hollywood blockbusters and that explains its huge success in international film festivals around the world. The film is done with quality unprecedented in Jordanian cinema. It shows how far we reached with Jordanian talents maturing experience over the past few years. It makes sense knowing that some of the cast members have worked on blockbuster hollywood movies before (Read my interview with Yanal Kassay, first assistant director of Theeb).

The story of Theeb is in par of “Gravity” and “Life of Pie” as well. A human story that has a subtle message. Unlike Sandra Bullock, little Theeb wasn’t lost in space, trying to find his way to earth, and unlike Pi Patel, he wasn’t stranded with a Tiger on a boat floating across the ocean, but his journey was not easier, and his struggle to save his own life was even harsher, not because of the difficult terrain of Wadi Rum, but because of cruelty of his fellow species that often tops the cruelty of nature.

At the end of the film we all stood up in awe and pride, clapping, happy to watch such a quality Jordanian production. Jordan’s film industry is yet to mature, but Theeb is definitely a big step forward.

Janna Ala Al Ard

Janna Ala Al Ard – A Book Review by Mohammad Taha


I am happy to read good reviews on goodreads around my 2nd book “Janna Ala Al Ard” (Heaven on Earth).

Once I heard that Fadi is coming up with a new novel, I couldn’t wait to get it in my hands.. Since “Aroos Amman” Fadi left us with the warmest and closest book to our reality and society, and now, he comes up with this new masterpiece telling our future.

“Janna Ala Al Ard” is a totally different novel than his first. He takes us with him to his wide wide imagination of the future, and to make it even closer to us, he talks about Amman’s future in year 2091.

The genre of the book is Sci-Fi, however, you feel so attached and your heart melt with so many subjects that we might have shed our eyes to while it was all among us. He makes the reader appreciate what he has at the mean time, while at the same time he takes you on a ride of the future and makes you want it so bad.

What a lot of people don’t know about “Janna Ala Al Ard” that it will make you cry. Yes, a Sci-Fi book will make you cry and touch your heart if not with all the content, by some of the stories that you will surely relate to (a mother’s loss, the love for a brother, imperfection of a marriage, the drive to lust and betrayal, the arrogance of some, or/and the kindness and simplicity of some… And a lot more).

If I want to talk about this book, I will need a whole new book to describe how sad I was that it didn’t have more pages as I just didn’t want it to end.
Its highly recommended, and I salute you Fadi for the great work.. Please keep inspiring us.

جنة على الأرض”: الشباب الدائم لايجاد الذات”


Fadi Zaghmout:

مراجعة قيمة من صديقي راشد النسعة لروايتي الجديدة جنة على الأرض… شكرا راشد..

Originally posted on The Malloul Chronicles | سجلات الملول:

Janna Cover

الشباب_الدائم#

قد تكون هذه هي الكلمات التي اختارها فادي زغموت لتلخيص  روايته الثانية على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي و لا سيما قبيل نشرها ، و لكن رواية “جنة على الأرض” تحمل بين سطورها العديد من الأفكار و التساؤلات التي تجعل من هذا العمل الأدبي نجاحا آخر للكاتب الشاب الذي عودنا على طرحه الجريء للعديد من القضايا الاجتماعية و الانسانية في زمن يشهد التحولات بتسارع أفقد العديد انسانيته و قدرته على التحليل و التمحيص و التامل بمنظور شامل الى تحديات العصر التي يشهدها عالمنا. فقد بدأ زغموت من خلال روايته الأول عروس عمان بسبر أغوار المجتمع في الزمن الحاضر و نظرته الى العلاقات الانسانية و منظومة الزواج لينتقل في جنة على الأرض الى عالم الخيال العلمي و الى زمن اصبح الكثير فيه ممكنا مع بقاء الكثير على ما هو عليه في الوقت نفسه، فالنفس البشرية قد تتأثر و تتطور مع التغيرات البيئية من حولها و لكن، يبقى الانسان كائنا ضعيفا يحتاج الى…

View original 431 more words

مع مجموعة من الأصدقاء

صور من حفل توقيع رواية جنة على الأرض في جناح دار الآداب خلال معرض الشارقة الدولي للكتاب


مع مديرة دار الأداب رنا إدريس، الكاتب يوسف فاضل، والكاتبة سامية عيسى

مع مديرة دار الأداب رنا إدريس، الكاتب يوسف فاضل، والكاتبة سامية عيسى

مع مجموعة من الأصدقاء

مع مجموعة من الأصدقاء

توقيع إحدى الروايات

توقيع إحدى الروايات

في حفل التوقيع

في حفل التوقيع

مع شقيقي علاء زغموت

مع شقيقي علاء زغموت

توقيع كتاب لصديقتي منى حمدان

توقيع كتاب لصديقتي منى حمدان

توقيع كتاب للطفل نائل

توقيع كتاب للطفل نائل

مع الصديق طارق زريقات

مع الصديق طارق زريقات

مع قارئة من الصين

مع قارئة من الصين

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Behind the White Veil: Interview with Fadi Zaghmout


Interviewed by Tala Abdulhadi, posted on OC Magazine

Name: Fadi Zaghmout

Date of Birth: June 15th, 1978

Degree: MA in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking

Job: Information and Communication Technology Advisor

Currently Residing in: Amman/Jordan

Languages Spoken: Arabic and English

OC: How has your Creative Writing degree helped you develop as a writer?

FZ: The course had a critical thinking side where we read lots of critical essays. We had four main modules. I would say that the psychoanalysis module was my favourite. There is much to learn from Freud in terms of creative writing; ambivalence, the double, the uncanny, mourning and dealing with loss are some techniques I have developed. I also learned to cut down unnecessary words, and to focus on showing rather than telling.

OC: What inspired you to write Aroos Amman (Bride of Amman)?

FZ: Our heavy legacy of social values that is making our lives harder than it should be, as well as the social obsession in marriage and its effect on the lives of youth in Jordan.

I understand that marriage is a means to regulate sexuality, yet and while exaggerated in importance, the institution of marriage in Jordan is pretty limited. We have no civil marriage that recognises inter-religious, non-religious or same sex relationships. Women are expected to be virgins, and preferred to be young, along with so many other silly constraints. It also reinforces patriarchal society where it is expected that the man to provide a home and cater for all of the wedding expenses and post wedding daily financial responsibilities.

OC: Each character in Aroos Amman seems to have its own identity, socially speaking. How would you describe each narrator in terms of identity?

FZ: Laila is the achiever; a woman who plays it right, does what society expects from her and excels in it. Salma represents women who struggle with the social obsession with marriage. Hayat is a social victim who is forced to break out the social boundaries, whereas Rana is the contrary of Laila. She follows her heart rather than playing it by the rules. Ali represents individuals with two sides; one that is highly appreciated by society (being a man) and one that is highly condoned (his homosexual desires).

OC: The works of authors are always reflective of the writers’ own lives. Which character is most reflective of you? How is that?

FZ: I think there are different parts in each character where I somehow reflect myself.  For example, I’d like to think that I am visible in the positivity, determination and honesty of Hayat, the rebellious and adventurous nature of Rana, and the activist social sensitivity of Salma.

OC: Why do you choose to write your novels in Arabic, but blog in both English and Arabic?

FZ: My blog tackles issues of gender and sexuality, and therefore gained more support from English reading audiences. When I read Arabic newspapers, especially local ones, I rarely see liberal voices that call for individual and sexual freedom. That is why I started using Arabic on my blog. I also realized that my English language is in not good as my Arabic. I can express myself much better in Arabic. I don’t think that I am capable of writing an entire book in English.

OC: What is the basis of your decision regarding which language to use when writing your novels?

FZ: I think it has to do more with my level of proficiency in the language. I am a native Arabic speaker and can express myself much better in Arabic. In addition to that, I am writing for an Arabic audience and publishing in an Arabic market.

OC: How did you come up with your latest short story It Was Just A Kiss? What messages were you aiming to send while writing it?

FZ: I had to deliver both a critical essay and a creative piece for my dissertation. For the critical part, I did a psychoanalysis read for the father/son relationship in two prose; The Kite Runner by Khaled Al Husseni, and When We Were Orphans by Ishiguro Kazuo, studying how a father figure affects the death drive of the son. I tackled the subject from a gender identity perspective.

The creative part had to be related. I thought of reflecting the father/son relationship into a mother/daughter one. Instead of a dominant manly father as in The Kite Runner, I came up with the character of this mother who is overly feminine.

OC: When should we expect your next novel?

FZ: I am hoping for a release date in September or October of this year (fingers crossed).

OC: Could you give us a brief description of your upcoming new work? Is it similar to any of your previous works in any way?

FZ: Sure I can. I would say it is different than Arous Amman. It tries to read a future where science can control the aging process and prevent dying from old age. On one hand, we have this huge shift in the paradigm of death while on the other hand we still have the same other variables that make us human beings. It is called Janna ‘Ala Al-ard (Heaven on Earth).

OC: If you had the choice of changing one thing about Jordanian society, what would it be?

FZ: I would heal the relationship between men and women.

OC: What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

FZ: I would advise aspiring writers to question everything around them; to deconstruct common truth, belief systems, social values; to be creative and bring us new stories that we haven’t heard before. That doesn’t mean writing a novel is an easy task. It requires discipline and dedication. There is no time to waste worrying about things. So just write, write, write, and worry later.

Fadi’s Top 5 Books:

Angels and Demons Dan Brown

The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follet

The Passion of New Year Eve Angela Carter

1984 George Orwell

The Kite Runner Khaled Al Husseni

Favorite Artist: Elissa

Favorite Movie: Halla’ La Wain

Favorite Dish: Fattet Makdoos

Favorite Author: Dan Brown

Dream Vacation: Seychelles Islands

Best Birthday Gift: A book with many white papers and a hard cover with my name on it to start writing my first novel.

Favorite Dessert: Knafeh

Guilty Pleasure: Bread

Most Embarrassing Incident: Once I was shopping and met an acquaintance. I said hi and we talked a bit. When I was ready to leave, I wanted to say goodbye. I approached him as he had his back to me. I poked his back, and he turned. He turned out to be someone else. I said bye and left!

Pet Peeve: Laziness

Your Biggest Fear: Death