Remembering Babylon

Marina Benjamin, Naïm Kattan

04/03/2007 10:00 am
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Naim Kattan grew up in a multicultural Baghdad as did Marina Benjamin’s grandmother. A violent pogrom shook their world in 1941 and eventually 130, 000 Jews were airlifted out of Iraq and scattered across the globe in the early fifties. The two authors discussed colonial Baghdad, the political forces that shape the country today and the fate of its Jewish diaspora.

Marina Benjamin


Marina Benjamin is a senior editor at Aeon Magazine. She is a former arts editor of the New Statesman magazine and deputy arts editor of the Evening Standard newspaper in London. Among her books, Living at the End of the World looked at modern end-time cults, Rocket Dreams offered an off-beat elegy to the Space Age, and Last Days in Babylon told the story of the Jews of Iraq. Following on from her widely acclaimed midlife memoir, The Middlepause (2016), her latest autobiographical work, Insomnia, was published in 2018.

Naïm Kattan

Naïm Kattan was born in Baghdad in 1928 and emigrated to Montreal in 1954. Novelist, essayist and critic, he is the author of more than 30 books, translated into several languages.

Linda Dangoor

Linda Dangoor has lived in the UK since the 60s. Artist, potter and writer, her interests in food and her Iraqi heritage have culminated in a beautifully designed cookery book: Flavours of Babylon.