Ed Nowatka’s piece on RAYA agency
RAYA, a Literary Agency for Arabic Writers
It is common practice at any large international book fair to find booths taken by literary agencies. The practice was unseen in Abu Dhabi until this year, when Yasmina Jraissati took a space to promote her new literary agency RAYA [Booth 3G02], which works exclusively with Arabic-speaking authors. Based in Paris, the agency has ten authors under contract and Jraissati is looking to make some of its first deals here at the book fair.
Jraissati founded the agency in 2005 and now has ten authors under contract, divided between fiction and nonfiction, and including Jabbour al-Douaihy, Khaled Khalifa, and Elias Farkouh, both of whom were who was shortlisted for the 2008 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
“At first people have been coming by the booth and seem a little confused, since there’s nothing here for sale,” said Jraissati, “then I explain what I do and they get it.”