If nothing else, it creates a nice mental picture: censorship, stretched out on the beach, taking it easy. Ahhh. Says Qatar’s arts and culture secretary general: “We do not censor books dealing with different opinions and ideas even if they are critical of us.” (We only censor things that wouldContinue Reading

As a side note in her piece about women and the Arabic Booker, Susannah Tarbush notes that Azazeel will be coming out from Atlantic Books in spring 2010. Another paper apparently pinpointed March, but I’ve heard no official word from Grove Atlantic. Azazeel, by Youssef Ziedan, was the second winnerContinue Reading

As came out last April, Dr. el Aswany was to be part of the panel selecting the Beirut39, but then withdrew. However, he continues to be part of other literary contests inside Egypt. The author of The Yacoubian Building tells Al-Masry Al-Youm he has no regrets about his Beirut39 decision,Continue Reading

Jamal Naji is a Jordanian writer of Palestinian descent, born in the ‘Aqbat Jaber refugee camp in 1954.  Lonely Planet, in their guide to Jordan, called him a “writer to watch out for.” In a good way, I hope. He began writing in 1975, and his first novel, The RoadContinue Reading

“The Long Road of H.H.,” by Chawki Amari, recently appeared in Algeria’s Al Watan, according to the blog Algerian Review. The translation to English is a little harum-scarum—so it’s difficult to tell what the language would feel like (perhaps choppy? perhaps droning and repetitive? perhaps lovely?)—and it’s more funny thanContinue Reading

Although Rabai al-Madhoun is in his sixties and has been working as a journalist, critic, and fiction writer since 1972, there is not much available about him in English. Al-Madhoun’s website–which says that it’s under construction–is in Arabic; it offers a little about the writer’s life and work.  In roughContinue Reading

The International “Arab” fair is different from the International “French” book fair, which took place earlier in the year. I think someone should’ve told Michael Luongo, who’s there to promote the Arabic-language version of his Gay Travels in the Muslim World. On the Huffington Post, he calls his first dayContinue Reading

Translator-critic Rasheed el Enany gave the annual Naguib Mahfouz Prize lecture at the AUC on Dec. 11. While in Egypt, he spoke with the newspaper Al Masry Al Youm. A few highlights: “And no, I’m not pessimistic about the cultural scene. But I am pessimistic about how this talent goesContinue Reading

Translator Kareem James Abu-Zeid must have been pleased to see this name on the IPAF—or Arabic Booker—shortlist, for his novel America. He recently said of the prolific Lebanese author: “The single Arab author I believe to be the most in need of translation is the Lebanese novelist Rabee Jaber, bornContinue Reading