The first meeting of a new Dubai-based Arabic book club will be on Wednesday, Jan 12 at 8 p.m. The meeting’s set to be held at Carluccio’s Dubai Marina Mall, Promenade GF. (I hope that makes sense to those of you who know Dubai.)

The new group is being sponsored by Read Kutub, a Dubai-based group that launched in 2006. The original “Read Kutub” is dedicated to reading Arabic literature in translation.

The new group will focus on reading the shortlisted books for the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The first discussion will be of القوس و الفراشة للكاتب محمد الأشعري (The Arch and the Butterfly by Moroccan author Mohammed Achaari).

IPAF organizers describe the book as such:

Tackling the themes of Islamic extremism and terrorism from a new angle, The Arch and the Butterfly explores the effect of terrorism on family life. It tells the story of a left-wing father who one day receives a letter from Al-Qaeda informing him that his son, who he believes is studying in Paris, has died a martyr in Afghanistan. The novel looks at the impact of this shocking news on the life of its hero and consequently on his relationship with his wife.

The group has a Facebook page titled: “Book Club – Arabic Booker Prize (Dubai).” You can also contact Maha Shakir for more details: mahashakir – at – gmail.com.

If you’re looking for an online book club:

There are many, but Arab World Books is the oldest and most established.