Book Launch: “Sentence to Hope” & “Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant”

New York Headquarters & Academic Center, 211 East 46th Street, New York, N.Y. 10017, USA

LAU’s New York Headquarters & Academic Center is hosting a book launch of Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant: A Critical Anthology (published by Brill) and Sentence to Hope: A Sa’dallah Wannous Reader (published by Yale University Press) authored by Robert Myers and Nada Saab.

A decade plus of collaborative work between Nada Saab of LAU and Robert Myers of AUB, which entailed researching, translating and producing seminal dramatic works from the Levant, has culminated in the production of two major new books. The first study, published by Brill, traces the recent history of political theater in the Levant through translations of significant playwrights and critical essays about their work, and the second, published by Yale University Press, is a collection of plays and other writings by the Syrian playwright Sa’dallah Wannous, as well as a critical introduction to his work. Wannous is acknowledged to be one of the most important dramatists and social critics from the Arab world of the last century. Saab and Myers will present their work and show footage of productions of plays from these recently published books. New York-based actors will do staged readings of selected scenes.

About the Authors:

Nada Saab is Associate Professor of Arabic literature at the Lebanese American University and Director of its Arabic Language and Culture Program (SINARC). With Robert Myers, she is the author of several studies on modern Arabic drama and translator of works written by modern Arab dramatists such as ‘Isam Mahfouz, Sa’dallah Wannous, Muhammad al-Maghout, Ra’ida Taha and Jawad al-Asadi. Her most recent books are Sentence to Hope: A Sa’dallah Wannous Reader and Modern and Contemporary Political Theater from the Levant: A Critical Anthology both written with Robert Myers. She translated Shakespeare’s King Lear to the Lebanese vernacular with Sahar Assaf and Raffi Feghali which played in Beirut theaters in 2016. She is an author of books and articles on medieval Sufi mystical literature, and critical editor of medieval Sufi manuscripts.

Robert Myers ( is a Professor of English, Director of the Alwaleed Center for American Studies and director of the Theater Initiative at the American University of Beirut. He is a cultural historian and writer, and the author of over fifteen plays and numerous articles on theater and culture. With Nada Saab, he has translated Baghdadi Bath, by Iraqi playwright Jawad Al Assadi, presented at LaMama Theater in New York; The Dictator, by Lebanese playwright ‘Issam Mahfouz; and Rituals and Signs of Transformations (translated with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation) and The Rape, both by Syrian playwright Sa’dallah Wannous. He produced the latter two in Beirut and The Dictator in New York. He and Nada Saab edited and translated the plays of Sa’dallah Wannous, Sentence to Hope, published by Yale University Press in 2019, and wrote and edited an anthology and critical edition entitled Contemporary Political Theatre from the Levant, published by Brill in 2018. 

Registration for this event is mandatory. Please arrive on time. Registration through Eventbrite does not guarantee late admission, and seats may be given away to wait-listed guests after the start of the event. LAU has limited capacity and reserves the right to turn away patrons, if necessary, for the safety of our guests.

For more information, click here