“Speaking Arabic, but reading in English” an empirical study

Speaking Arabic, but reading in English: A description of first and second language use by AUB students
This paper was presented at AUB, in the Spring 2014, and was prepared by Yasmina Jraissati, Nadiya Slobodenyuk, Lama Ghanem


The current paper presents an analysis of individual linguistic history and self-rated proficiency of first (L1), second (L2), and third language (L3) on a sample of 79 AUB students. Continue reading

Arabic literature: what acquiring editors should know

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.
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Reaching out to ‘invisible’ readers

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

Selling Arabic fiction rights: it’s what’s inside that counts

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