The word on the street (and in The National, and the Saudi Gazette, and parroted by me) has been that Arabic Booker-winning Azazeel (Beelzebub), by Youssef Ziedan, will be out in spring 2010. The book was translated into English by Jonathan Wright, who also translated Khaled al-Khamissi’s charming Taxi. SoContinue Reading

Humphrey’s the award-winning translator of a number of books, including Ahmed Alaidy’s Being Abbas el-Abd, Gamal al-Ghitani’s Pyramid Texts, Bahaa Taher’s Sunset Oasis, and Elias Khoury’s Gate of the Sun, Yalo, and…well, I forget which of Khoury’s books Humphrey’s working on now. But it’s definitely one of Khoury’s books. WillContinue Reading

I missed this while at the Cairo International Book Fair on Friday: Egyptian security confiscated Idris Ali’s new novel, The Leader is Cutting His Hair. The book is reportedly critical of the Libyan regime (and Ghaddafi’s hair?). Ali, who’s Egyptian, lived in the neighboring North African nation from 1976-1980. AllContinue Reading

I am supposed to be reading a book by an American right now. (I am American. I love the older work of J.E. Wideman to pieces, and the older work of Toni M., and Alice Munro—oops, she’s Canadian. And Roberto Bolano and Derek Walcott—oops, wrong America.) Anyhow, it’s a goodContinue Reading

I am as much a Joe Sacco fan as anyone—no, that must be wrong; I am an average Joe Sacco fan. Perfectly run-of-the-mill. What Sacco excels at is storytelling, and in examining himself as he examines the world around him. His drawings journalistic. They are appealing enough, but they’re not Continue Reading

Qantara has up a new interview with Lebanese author Iman Humaydan Younes. Humaydan Younes is the author of Wild Mulberries (review from Banipal; introduction from the book’s translator, Michelle Hartman)and B. as in Beirut (a more critical review from BookSlut).Continue Reading

At a recent Cairo literary event, my friend Yasmine P.—who has spent the last three years living in Jerusalem, and continues to travel back frequently to finish her documentary film—complained of under-attendance. If this was a literary event in Palestine, Yasmine told me, there would not be one free chair.Continue Reading

From Reading Morocco: Reading Crisis Alarms Moroccan Writers. As it is here, so it is elsewhere. The quotes put the blame on readers, although I am not so sure the blame doesn’t also fall on writers. Certainly, there are things we could be saying that would make reading more relevantContinue Reading