This Spring, The Common will be making a major contribution to Arabic literature in English translation:
The Amherst-based magazine, edited by Jennifer Acker, will soon be publishing a special issue “Tajdeed: Contemporary Arabic Stories in Translation.”
A launch event — coupled with The Common’s annual fundraiser — is scheduled for May 19 at NYU; you can sign up now online.
The event will feature “a night of drinks, canapés, and performed readings from The Common‘s special issue,” which will bring out excellent new translations of new work 25 authors from 15 countries across the Middle East.”
The issue was co-edited by Acker and Jordanian short-story writer Hisham Bustani, with an eye not just to bringing new Arabic literature into translation, but into joyous, sharp translation — with work by some of the best emerging Arabic-English translators. This collection is not for Arabists, but for English-language fictionophiles.
The “Tajdeed” (Renewal) issue will feature work from a wide range of authors, including celebrated short-story writers like Zakariya Tamer, Mohamed Makhzangi, and Muhammad Khudayir; younger short-story writers like Rasha Abbas; novelists like Hilal Chouman, and more. The publicity materials promise “introductions by acclaimed Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha and journalist Marcia Lynx Qualey,” and that “Tajdeed will provide American and international readers with fresh insight into the themes and innovative forms of contemporary Arabic writing.”
But Tajdeed is not just “an unprecedented collection of imaginative works from Arabic writers and artists across generations, genders, geographies, approaches, and styles” — it also aims to “help build a forum for in-depth discussion of the Arab world and its cultural intersections with America and the West.”
The May 19 event is the first of many, insha’allah, that will continue throughout the year.