Saturday Links: IPAF Longlister Waciny Laredj at Bibliotheca, YA Wins Award at Beirut Fair, More

Yes, yes, they’re supposed to be Friday links. But so it goes.

Egyptian-Algerian Cultural Relations (Finally) Warming?

Egyptian-Algerian relations of all sorts—social, political, business—have been affected by last year’s football match between the two nations. But the most ridiculous fall-out has got to be its effect on cultural ties: Egyptian publishers didn’t go to the Algerian book fair, and Algerian publishers have threatened to boycott next month’s fair in Cairo.

But the clash has not necessarily been supported by individuals; a group of Egyptian intellectuals, for instance, first started a drive on Facebook to collect and donate 1,000—and then 4,000—books to Algerian stores.

According to Al Ahram Online, a recent lecture by Waciny Laredj in Alexandria was well-attended, and the Algerian author said: “That incident [the football nonsense] is shameful and a major disappointment. I hope intellectuals will not allow it to exacerbate.”

Laredj, who has won a number of prestigious literary prizes, including the Sheikh Zayed, has been longlisted for his novel The Andalucian House.

The story from Al Ahram Online: Algerian novelist Al Aaraj lectures at Bibliotheca Alexandrina


Fatima Sharafeddine’s فاتن Wins 2010 Beirut Book Fair Prize

This is interesting to you grown-ups because the winning “children’s” book at this year’s Beirut Book Fair is young-adult literature with crossover potential. فاتن certainly could be of interest to adults who are looking for Arabic books written in a simple, straightforward elegant manner.

I also want this book to be made into a film.

The story from Read Kutub Kids: Breaking News! Fatima Sharafeddine’s فاتن Wins 2010 Beirut Book Fair Prize for Best Children’s Book

And what else is going on at the Beirut Book Fair? I’ve seen @yjraissati and @kalimat_books talking about the fair a bit, but nothing yet on a sustained basis. Wish I could be there.


Is Arabic or English Best for Yemeni Universities?

From Yemen Today:

At a lecture held at the Hadramout branch of the Yemen Writer’s Union, Dr. Saeed Ahmed Al-Batati, Assistant Professor of Arabic at HUST, staunchly defended Arabic as the best language for Yemenis to study.  He said Arabic could be just as good a “language of science” as English.  He pontificated, “All living  languages have  the ability to be the language of science, and Arabic is no exception.”

Certainly. Moreover, it can’t be good for the students to switch the language of instruction back and forth every few years.

Goodness knows if it will switch again. According to Yemen Today: “The heated debate shows no signs of cooling down, and the two sides seem irreconcilable.”

The story from Yemen Today: Should Yemeni Universities Teach in Arabic or English?



‘Gaza Mom’ launches her book (based on her blog)

Beijing University Launches History of Arabic Literature

Interview: Leila Aboulela (and discussion of her new book, Lyrics Alley)