Hisham Matar

In November, a few days after Donald Trump won the presidential election, I flew to Arkansas to give a reading at the Fayetteville Public Library. I landed just before sunset. The earth was the colour of rust, the trees fiery with the end of autumn and the cattle, which grazed with seemingly no movement at all, were black. I didn’t know anyone there. A Libyan friend had written to say that there was a Syrian poet who taught at the University of Arkansas. But I couldn’t remember her name, and the email he sent me seemed to have vanished.

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