Anyone interested in Arabic literature, either in English or in Arabic, might be interested in the following projects and upcoming events
* The “European platform for literary exchange” Literature Across Frontiers is presenting the report which they produced last year on Literary Translation from Arabic into English (in the UK and Ireland) on the 2 Feb at 6:30 pm, at the Free Word Centre, Farringdon, London. You can download the fascinating report on the LAF Making Literature Travel website
* There’s a launch of a “major tribute” to Adonis at London’s Mosaic Rooms on Feb 3 (thanks to ArabLit blog for this one).
* There’s a new reading group focusing on Arabic literature in English run by Banipal at Arab-lit-in-English library in the Arab British Centre in London. It’s starting in mid-march and the first book is Ali Bader’s The Tobacco Keeper. Banipal is a UK-based journal of contemporary Arab literature in English, founded by husband and wife Arabic literature promoters Margaret Obank and Iraqi author Samuel Shimon. Details will be updated soon on the Banipal website
* Plans are also afoot for a new Arabic-language reading group of new fiction not yet translated into English. This is one of a series of foreign language reading groups in the UK run by independent publisher And Other Stories with the ultimate aim of finding great new texts to get translated and published, but with the added bonus of bringing together speakers and readers of those languages for interesting bookish discussions… I can’t wait! More on this to follow
* In a neat crossover which seems to me to emphasise how few Arab artists are prominent in the UK (are even able to tour in the UK?), the same names appear in the next event: on 1 April, Iraqi writers Ali Bader, Inaam Kachachi and Samuel Shimon at the Oxford Literary Festival. The event is titled Celebrating Iraqi Culture: A Nation Shaped by Conflict. I saw Inaam Kachachi at the Cheltenham Lit Fest last year, in the absence of Samuel Shimon who was unable to attend at the last minute, and she was fabulous. I’m not sure how Shimon would have got a word in had he been there!