Joumana Haddad

haddad_pic.jpgJoumana Haddad, the Lebanese poet, author and critic, recently had a tattoo of a tulip imprinted on the lowest section of her back. She pulls down her waistband to indicate the area in question.

''My kids and my partner, they are not shocked that I have a tattoo, but by the fact that the guy tattooed my arse.'' She roars with laughter.

Controversy is not something Haddad is afraid of. She is a figure of some repute in Lebanon, through her own writing as well as her roles as the cultural editor of An-Nahar, the main newspaper in Beirut, and the head of IPAF, the Arabic equivalent of the Booker prize.

And now she has launched a magazine called The Body. Its subject matter - serious articles on masturbation, trans-sexuality and battered women, as well as riffs on ''my first time'' - has caused not just eyebrows but hackles to rise.

Haddad's website has been hacked into on numerous occasions and she receives regular hate mail. Hezbollah tried to close her stand at the Beirut Book Fair, and the head of the Lebanese Council of Women has called for the magazine, which is sold in sealed plastic in Lebanon and by mail order in other parts of the Arab world, to be banned...

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By Sabine Durrant
The Age

Thanks to:
Bebhinn Kelly  
Dubai, UAE

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