BULAQ is a podcast about contemporary writing from and about the Middle East and North Africa. It talks about books written in Aleppo, Cairo, Marrakech and beyond, and looks at the Arab region through the lens of literature. It also explores literature – what it does, why it matters and how it relates to society, history and politics – from the point of view of this part of the world. The podcast is hosted by Ursula Lindsey and M Lynx Qualey and co-produced by Sowt.

In the latest episode, Pillar of Salt, the hosts discuss the classic 1953 novel by the Jewish Tunisian Francophone writer, Albert Memmi. This sharp and beautiful book is many things – a coming-of-age story, an account of colonialism and a Second World War novel. Its driven, unhappy narrator breaks with his community and family in search of a new identity but is disappointed again and again. He cannot help looking back on the past he rejects and asks, “Is it possible for me to survive my contemplation of myself?”

Their full list of over 60 episodes can be found on Sowt, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox and Deezer.