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 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
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 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