- The New Oasis
Upon the death of their leader, a group of Tuareg nomads in the Sahara Desert turns to the heir dictated by tribal custom; however, he is a poet reluctant to don the mantle of leadership. Forced by tribal elders to abandon not only his poetry but his love, who is also a poet, he reluctantly serves as leader. Whether by human design or the meddling of the Spirit World, his death inspires his tribe to settle down permanently, abandoning not only nomadism but also the inherited laws of the tribe. The community they found, New Waw, which they name for the mythical paradise of the Tuareg people, is also the setting of Ibrahim al-Koni’s companion novel, The Puppet.
For al-Koni, this Tuareg tale of the tension between nomadism and settled life represents a choice faced by people everywhere, in many walks of life, as a result of globalism. He sees an inevitable interface between myth and contemporary life.
Ibrahim al-Koni was born in the northwest of the Sahara Desert in Libya in 1948 and learned to read and write Arabic at the age of twelve. He has been hailed a magical realist, a Sufi fabulist, and a poetic novelist, and his more than eighty books contain mythological elements, spiritual quests, and existential questions. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages and include Gold Dust, The Animist, The New Oasis, The Puppet, and many more. Among the many literary prizes to his name, he has been awarded the Sheikh Zayed Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. He currently lives in Spain.