Feb 232022

a monologue by Darina Al Joundi

translated by Helen Vasallo

‘a story that flows like a surging river’ (Le Monde)

I’ve been waiting for you to tell you this story. A true story. My story.

On the evening of her father’s funeral, while his family recites suras from the Qur’an, Noun interrupts the ceremony. Staying true to the memory of her father, a writer, journalist and freedom fighter, she decides to put an end to this memorial and carry out his last wish: to have Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’ played at his funeral. Noun locks herself in a room with her father’s body and spends one last evening with him before her family break down the door and make her face the consequences of her actions. Looking back on her experience of the civil war in Lebanon, Noun recalls the straitjacket of religion, the weight of prejudice, and her struggle against a society where men are all-powerful and women are denied freedom of speech.

Le Jour où Nina Simone a cessé de chanter (The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing) was an instant sensation when it was first performed as a one-woman play at the Avignon festival in July 2007: it sold out at every performance and resulted in multiple runs in Paris and throughout France.

A feisty narrative that is wickedly funny Financial Times
Darina Al Joundi’s testimony … is a powerful resistance song L’Humanité

Darina Al Joundi is a critically acclaimed actor and writer of Lebanese-Syrian origin. The daughter of notorious Syrian journalist, freedom fighter, political activist and exile Assim Al Joundi, Darina Al Joundi is known throughout the Arab world for her television and film roles, and has also played occasional roles in popular English-language series such as Homeland and Tyrants.

Al Joundi is also co-author with Mohamed Kacimi of a novel-length version of The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing (Actes Sud 2008), translated by Marjolijn de Jager (Feminist Press, 2010), and author of Prisonnière du levant (Grasset 2017), a fictional biography of feminist pioneer May Ziadeh which is currently being adapted into a film.

Available worldwide, online and from bookshops.

You can buy it from bookshop.org here in the UK and here in the US