RAYA Agency, the sole international-facing literary agency representing Arabic titles, has added seven new titles for spring 2018:
Beirut-based RAYA was founded by Yasmina Jraissati and represents books by a number of major Arab authors, such as Sinan Antoon, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Samar Yazbek, Jabbour Douaihy, and Hoda Barakat.
The seven new titles:
The Raven’s Claw, by Yahya al-Qassim
“A major work, comparable to Mounif’s classic Cities of salt” (L. Barbulesco). From Jraissati: “This epic novel is a magnificent insight into the origins of contemporary Saudi socio-political dynamics.”
Jraissati also notes that a full French translation, by Luc Barbulesco, was supported by a benefactor and will be donated to the acquiring French publisher at no further cost. Presumably this French translation can also be read by interested acquiring publishers who work in other languages.
99th Floor, by Jana Elhassan
This book is already available in English, in Michelle Hartman’s translation, published by Interlink, and French, German, and Italian translations are also available or forthcoming. Rights to other languages are available.
Maps of Yunus, by Mahmoud Hosny
As Jraissati writes: “A 33-year-old man, a little girl, and a stranded whale: Their fates are tied in a post-apocalyptic world. A beautiful debut novel.” Read an excerpt in translation on ArabLit.
The Second Dog War, by Ibrahim Nasrallah
This International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted novel (2018 shortlist) is a dystopian look at a not-so-distant future where technological advances serve an extreme form of consumerism, ultimately threatening life itself.
From the IPAF: “This novel exposes the ugly transformations of society and reality using the techniques of fantasy and science fiction. It focuses on the corrupt main character, who transforms from an opponent of the regime toan unscrupulous extremist, as it reveals the tendency towards savagery inherent in societies and human beings. Greed intensifies and human values are ignored, until everything is permissible, even the buying and selling of people’s bodies and souls.”
The Book of the Sultan’s Seal, by Youssef Rakha
This brilliant debut novel is available in English (from Interlink), French, and German. Jraissati writes: “Partly a tale of the fantastic, and partly a political pamphlet. The Book of the Sultan’s Seal is a suspenseful and erotic read, a riotous examination of Muslim demise.” Rights available in other languages.
Innocence, by Habib Selmi
From previously IPAF-shortlisted Tunisian novelist Habib Selmi, this novel is “[a]n illustration of the hypocrisy of Arab societies, who even though speaking of modernity and the need for change, still cling to obsolete traditions and values.”
French translation forthcoming from Actes Sud.
Praise for the Women of This Family, by Mahmoud Shukair
Interlink has acquired English rights to this IPAF-longlisted (2016) novel that Jraissati calls a “family saga, the novel witnesses the rapid advance of modernity and the seeds of conflict beginning to grow in 1950s Palestine.” Rights in other languages still available.