Notes: Portal for Arabic iBooks Coming Soon, ‘Jordan Festival’ Eschews Lit, Abu Dhabi Fair Cuts Back Invites

In the last few days, a number of stories have seemed worth mentioning—but they’re stories about which I don’t have enough knowledge to comment. So I thought I’d do as others do, and make a list of links.

KITAB general manager Monika Krauss, in London last week for a presentation to UK publishers, said that the general economic downturn and the blow to the Dubai economy in particular had encouraged the Fair to limit its programme of “invitation packages”, which pay the flight and hotel costs of exhibitors, for the 2011 event.

In 2011, Krauss noted:

…the event will have a focus on illustrators and will feature an expanded business and rights centre plus an expanded and modernised “e-zone” with broadband access.

  • Arabic books and the Jordan Festival: According to, the Jordan Writers Association and the Artists Union announced a boycott of this year’s Jordan festival, which seems to eschew literary events in favor of popular singers, and more commercial events
  • Arab writers in America: The VOA (always an odd commentator on Arab literature) has a wrap-up of the RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers) conference that occurred at the beginning of this month. From RAWI president Khalid Mattawa:

“There are many Arab Americans here who are not familiar even with their heritage when they aim to present it in a certain manner,” said Mattawa. “I think that kind of research is required and is a challenge. The other challenge is to recognize that really our history is part of American history and our literature is part of American and world literature.”

I also wanted to include good wishes for Egyptian author Gamal al-Ghitani, who was apparently was hospitalized after a steep rise in blood pressure while recording a TV interview, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The author of Zayni Barakat and The Zafarani Files (and Pyramid Texts and a number of other wonderful books) apparently was talking about the future of Egypt, the water crisis, and sectarian tensions, among other things.

Also: Amira Abed, Educational Programs Director over at Bloomsbury-Qatar, has sent in her suggestions for our FUN Summer Reading Suggestions for Kids.

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