Honored friends, colleagues and family members gathered at Dar Al-Nadwa in Hamra on the afternoon of Friday, March 20th, 2015 to attend the book signing event of Ziad Kaj’s new novel entitled: “Ras Beirut: Sunduk fi Bahr, Narr ala Tallah“.
Through his novel, Kaj tells his own versions of the stories of Ras Beirut, remembering faces, names, and streets and reminiscing about events and conversations of the past.
The novel mentions AUB many times and addresses the question of “Which came first, AUB or Ras Beirut, as we know it?” According to Kaj, AUB and Ras Beirut are two correlated and inseparable places. They are two entities, sewn together by culture, structure, and history.
Kaj has been a part of the AUB family since June 1985 and- after 30 years- he says that AUB is his second home. Kaj says that he was always attracted to AUB and to its grounds, even before he was “officially” an AUBite.
In addition to this book, Kaj has published 5 other books, all by Dar Nelson: “Kana ‘alayk an taqlub al-sullum” (poetry), “Amirka uhibuki, ana la uhibuki “(poetry), “Awlad al-natur al-sabiq” (novel), “Al-hayah kama quddimat lahum” (novel), “Layali dayr al- qamar” (novel).
Kaj is also a skillful painter and enjoys the arts. He held his first painting exhibit, along with a book signing event a year ago.
When asked about his talents, Kaj claims that he is a writer and an artist by instinct, adding “When I was a kid, I always had the feeling that there is that seed of art in me. This seed had to grow and I read, and still read a lot of books and papers. My writings are almost all about real and personal experiences.”
When asked about how he worked on himself as a writer and an artist, Kaj says: “There is an artist in every one of us- since the child is the father of the man- but we have to believe in ourselves. It took me 50 years to start believing that I can write….in fact, till now I am not so sure that I can write. I observe people a lot and I learn from them. I thank God for the half-mind He gave me because with time I came to appreciate the second filled part of the cup”.
About Ziad Kaj
Ziad Kaj was born on April 28, 1964, in Ras Beirut. He graduated from the National Protestant College in 1983. He majored in Mass Communication at the Lebanese University and then studied English Literature at the Beirut Arab University. In addition to his books and paintings, over the years, Kaj has published articles in several media outlets such as Voice of Arab Lebanon, Voice of the People and Monday Morning (English weekly). He is currently a University Libraries staff member at AUB and has been a part of the AUB family for over 30 years. To contact the author or know more about him, visit his Facebook page.
Several media outlets wrote about the book: