Interview with Longlisted Author Khalid Al-Nassrallah


When did you start writing The White Line of Night and where did the inspiration for it come from?

I began writing The White Line of Night at the start of 2018 and finished it in mid-2020, at the beginning of the corona pandemic crisis. The initial inspiration came from a friend who works in a book censorship department and has a talent for creative writing. It also came from many books which I read which dealt with the subject, directly or indirectly. Although the novel doesn’t explicitly refer to the environment in which the events take place, it describes some distinctive things about the weird laws in my country, which on the one hand give the right to speak freely, allowing criticism of the state and politics, whilst at the same time, the authorities monitor books, Twitter and publications. This situation was an added inspiration and impetus for the idea of the novel.   

Did the novel take long to write and where were you when you finished it?

It took nearly two and a half years, and I wrote it all in Kuwait. I finished it when the general curfew began.

How have readers and critics received it?

Most readers have liked the book and given it a warm welcome. Dr, Musal Al-Ajmi, who teaches literary criticism in Kuwait University, was keen to write about it before it was published. Likewise, others have praised it, such as Abbas Beydoun and Salman Zein Al-Din, and written about it at length.  

What is your next literary project after this novel?

I am now working on a novel which is the imagined life story of an important literary figure, whose life coincided with Arab political history. The events take place from the 1940s up until four years ago. I hope that I will be able to do it justice.