This piece was commissioned and published by BookBrunch, Special issue for the Sharjah Book Fair, November 2014, and re-published by Publishers’ weekly.
In the spring of 2014, Ahmad Saadawi’s book Frankenstein in Baghdad was awarded the International Prize for Arab Fiction, also known as the Arab Booker. It is a novel of a kind quite different from the ones generally acclaimed by the public or by critics, and from those that have come to me for consideration in the past few years. Whatever its originality or flaws, its being awarded the IPAF could be the sign of an interesting change to come.
This article was commissioned by BookBrunch for its special issue on Sharjah International Book Fair 2013
Arab books face numerous challenges, and Arab publishers consistently invoke the following, in order of priority: piracy, lack of systematic distribution channels, censorship, and differences in purchasing power across countries. Today, while some difficulties may have increased, others have eased. Continue reading
This article was commissioned by Bookbrunch for the Sharjah International Book Fair, November 2012.
This is the unabridged version.
When asked about the challenges of selling world translation rights of Arabic fiction, one’s first response is naturally always focused on the potential acquirers. It is a fact that Arabic is not widely read in the international publishing industry, and this indubitably has consequences on the access non-Arab publishers have to Arabic literature. There also are other deeper factors that have to do with the relationship each individual editor may have with what he believes to be the ‘Arab world’. Continue reading
Written for and published by Publishing perspectives, @pubperspectives by Yasmina Jraissati
On the eve of their fifth birthday, Twitter published some remarkable stats. On average per day: 140 million tweets and 460,000 new accounts. Without a doubt, we are living interesting times. The dematerialization of cultural products is in the process of revolutionizing the notion of “book”. User generated content, online publishing tools and mostly social media are empowering individuals both in the virtual world and on the streets, and appear to be in the process of revolutionizing the notion of “authorship”. Continue reading
I finally got a hold of Lamia Ziade’s book, ‘Bye bye Babylone’. I had been looking forward to buying it since last September, having seen some of the book’s spreads before its publication. Continue reading
By the year 2002, two key studies linking Arab human development to the book industry had been published: The UNESCO report on Arab book production and the Arab Human Development Report, ADHR. Continue reading
Comissionned and first published by L’Orient littéraire, in French
As a literary agent specialized in representing Arabic literature for world translation rights, I am often asked how visible Arabic literature is on the international scene. This question most of the time translates into: ‘how many copies do books translated from the Arabic sell?’ Continue reading
The 16th edition of the Lebanese Francophone book fair was held in Beirut, at the BIEL exhibit center, from October 23rd through November 1st, and was particularly successful. Continue reading
En lisant le titre du roman, on est un peu surpris de la présence de ‘dieu’ près des ‘petites choses’. Le contraste est tel qu’on a du mal à voir à quoi correspond ce dieu, ces petites choses. Continue reading
The Abu Dhabi Book Fair, organized by Kitab, a joint venture between ADACH and the Frankfurt Book Fair, has gathered exhibitors from across the Arab world this year. The presence of US, UK, German, Indian and French publishers should also be noted. Continue reading
Un palais en papier
«Dans le petit monde de la maison en noyer, le temps passait plus vite. Cinq minutes de jeu d’enfant s’écoulaient comme une journée, une demi-heure comme une année. Pour un an de chair et d’os, c’était tout un siècle en bois qui était déjà passé. Dans le monde en noyer, on vivait plus longtemps. Autant de siècles que durait l’enfance ». Continue reading
Etre le rouge, ou ne pas être
Mon nom est rouge. “Qu’est-ce donc qu’être une couleur? C’est le toucher de la pupille ; la musique du sourd-muet, la parole dans les ténèbres… Quelle chance j’ai d’être le Rouge ! Continue reading
En hommage à la poésie, un roman en fines dentelles
Dans les années 1950, trois ans après la période couverte par Ka’annaha na’ima, de Elias Khoury, W.Quine parlera du ‘mythe de la signification’. Continue reading