Interlink Cashing in on Arab Revolutions

From Publishers Weekly: “Events in the Middle East Boost Sales at Interlink

Interlink has a fine list of books. They were the first, as Publishers Weekly notes, to bring out Ibrahim al-Koni in English. They also published Yemeni author Zayd Mutee Dammaj’s fascinating novel The Hostage in translation, as well as Radwa Ashour’s Specters and a number of other excellent works.

And so, as the publisher of several major works of Arabic literature, Interlink is apparently “seeing sizeable increases at Amazon and on its own InterlinkBooks.com Web site, as well as strong orders from libraries and independents,” according to Publishers Weekly.

Michel Moushabeck, publisher and editor of Interlink, further makes the odd suggestion that translated fiction should be moved off of fiction shelves. “We’ve always said they will get lost in fiction. Put them on the travel shelf.”

Forthcoming in Fall 2011: The Granta Book of the African Short Story

The forthcoming Granta Book of the African Short Story promises works from Rachida El Charni, Mansoura Ez Eldin, Alaa al-Aswany, and Leila Aboulela (among others). These writers are described by the book’s editor, Helon Habila, as “the post-nationalist generation,” although I don’t think that can really be said of al-Aswany or Ez Eldin, at least not post-Jan. 25.

The collection should be available from Granta Books in September.

Words Without Borders: On Reviewing Translations

WWB has an excellent new series “On Reviewing Translations.”

Novelist Lorraine Adams has written the latest commentary, calling on reviewers of translated fiction to act as ambassadors.

This doesn’t relieve the reviewer from making judgments—I’m a firm believer any review that hangs back from that duty is worthless. But the translated literature reviewer is also an ambassador, in a way that other reviewers simply don’t need to be. And that calls for diplomacy.

I don’t think I would call it diplomacy, although certainly the reviewer of translated fiction does require a knowledge of the gulf between text and audience—and an ability to mediate that distance—that you could say other reviewers don’t need.

Other essays in the series include: SOME THOUGHTS FOR REVIEWERS OF LITERARY TRANSLATIONS, by Susan Bernofsky, Jonathan Cohen, and Edith Grossman  (this is more manifesto than essay); an essay that addresses when and why translators should be praised, by Daniel Hahn; and Tess Lewis simply asking reviewers to provide a little evidence for their judgements.

I hope (other) reviewers are reading.

Maïssa Bey on Why Algeria Needs to Talk About its Past

Qantara: “We Intellectuals Expect Nothing More From Europe

Algerian author Maïssa Bey talks briefly to Qantara about her 2010 novel Puisque mon coeur est mort (Now That My Heart is Dead), which examines violence during the turbulent 1990s.

Without an honest reappraisal of the past there can be no democratising process in society or in the political structures. “We will never achieve anything in Algeria until we get the truth out into the open and begin acknowledging facts,” says Bey. “This is something that has to involve everyone: victims, perpetrators, those politically responsible for the violence and the authorities who have imposed a total blackout on the lives of hundreds of thousands of families.”