Over at The National today, Zaineb al Hassani has a piece about National Novel Writing Month—typically shortened to NaNoWriMo—the novel-writing month that’s broken its boundaries.
NaNoWriMo, founded in 1999 by San Francisco freelance writer Chris Baty and a handful of others, is now an international happening.
Al Hassani writes about participants in the UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia (there are some from Tunisia, too), all of whom have pledged to finish a 50,000-word “novel” (howsoever they define it) before the end of this month.
All participants really have to do to “win” with NaNoWriMo is register with the site, and then—at the end of the month—upload their novel so that a piece of software can verify that it’s 50,000 words. Then: voila! They’re winners.
Of the NaNoWriMo novels that have gone on to be published (and there are a few of them), it looks as though only one was written in a language other than English, Hannah Biemold’s Dutch-language In het hooi.
It also seems that most of the participants from Elsewhere :: Middle East (318) Elsewhere :: Egypt (109) , and Elsewhere :: Tunisia (28) are writing in English, although the note about Egypt’s group meeting on Nov. 6 is also posted in Arabic: لقاء الأعضاء يوم 6 نوفمبر…
Oh, and friends in Tunisia and Egypt: We’re not in “elsewhere,” we’re in Africa.