Still there are seeds to be gathered, and room in the bag of stars.
– Ursula K. Le Guin
For me this book is a bag… Like any single-use carrier bag – I disapprove. It shouldn’t exist, it contributes to pollution, it should be banned… And yet, in spite of the fact I know this book may be a waste product… I’m still writing, redacting, expanding… I’m still waiting, wasting, wanting. According to Ursula, ‘It is a human thing to do to put something you want, because it’s useful, edible, or beautiful, into a bag.’
– Sophia Al-Maria
Sad Sack is a book of collected writing by Sophia Al-Maria, taking feminist inspiration from Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1986 essay ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’; opposing ‘the linear, progressive, Time’s-(killing)-arrow mode of the Techno-Heroic.’ Encompassing more than a decade of work, Sad Sack tracks Al-Maria’s speculative journey as a writer, from the first seed of her ‘premature’ memoir, through the coining and subsequent critique of ‘Gulf Futurism’, towards experiments in gathering, containing, welling up and sucking dry.
Sophia Al-Maria is an artist and writer living in London. She is contributing editor of Bidoun, and guest editor of The Happy Hypocrite – Fresh Hell, issue 8 (Book Works, 2015). Al-Maria’s memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth (Harper Perennial, 2012), was translated into Arabic and published by Bloomsbury Qatar in 2015, and her short stories have been published in various collections including The Djinn Falls in Love (Solaris, UK, 2017). In 2016 Al-Maria presented ‘Black Friday’, her first US solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and was nominated for Film London’s Jarman Award. Recently, she has been screenwriting for film and television, alongside solo exhibitions at Project Native Informant in London (‘ilysm’, 2018), Third Line Gallery in Dubai, and further presentations, participation in film festivals and arts events internationally.
Sophia Al-Maria was Whitechapel Gallery’s Writer in Residence 2018 – her exhibition ‘BCE’ (Whitechapel Gallery, January – April 2019), draws on a year of performances and readings, culminating in two short creation myth films: one from the ancient past, originating with the Wayuu tribe in northern Colombia; the other from the distant future, made with Victoria Sin.
Sad Sack is supported by The Third Line gallery in Dubai.