Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing has announced that they will publish two International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) winners in 2012.
These are: the 2010 winner, Throwing Sparks as Big as Castles by Abdo Khal, and one of the 2011 co-winners, The Arch and the Butterfly by Mohammed Achaari. Although BQFP says that the title isn’t final, everyone should breathe a sigh of relief that the publishing house is not referring to Khal’s novel as Spewing Sparks….
BQFP has signed on acclaimed translators for the two projects. The co-translators for Khal’s Throwing Sparks will be Maia Tabet (who recently translated Elias Khoury’s White Masks) and Michael K. Scott (Hassan Daoud’s Borrowed Time). Achaari’s The Arch and the Butterfly will be translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid, who was a runner-up for the 2010 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for his translation of Tarek Eltayeb’s novel Cities without Palms.
BQFP has focused a good deal of energy in its first year on IPAF-cited titles. Their first grown-up fiction title in English, Inaam Kachachi’s The American Granddaughter (October 2010), was shortlisted for the 2009 IPAF; Ali Bader’s The Tobacco Keeper (forthcoming June 2011) was longlisted that same year.
The new press, currently celebrating its one-year anniversary at the London Book Fair, also recently released a re-translation of Samuel Shimon’s An Iraqi in Paris.
Anyone who can turn khal’s leaden prose into gold is a true alchemist.
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