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[11 Dec 2014 | No Comment | 150 views]
Moushabeck on the Sharjah International Book Fair – Publishers’ Weekly

Publishers Weekly, November 28th, 2014
Ever since I started Interlink Publishing 30 years ago, I’ve been a passionate advocate of literature in translation. Literature is universal, and great literature travels well. It can thrive at home, in exile, and, yes, in translation. So why do translated titles make up less than 3% of books published annually in the U.S.? I asked this question when I participated in a panel discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
But when I was invited to speak at the 2014 Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) …

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[2 Dec 2014 | No Comment | 131 views]

In the spring of 2014, Ahmad Saadawi’s book Frankenstein in Baghdad was awarded the International Prize for Arab Fiction, also known as the Arab Booker. It is a novel of a kind quite different from the ones generally acclaimed by the public or by critics, and from those that have come to me for consideration in the past few years. Whatever its originality or flaws, its being awarded the IPAF could be the sign of an interesting change to come.
 
As I celebrate this fall my tenth year as a literary …

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[14 Oct 2014 | No Comment | 428 views]
Sinan Antoon on Ya Maryam: Fiction or not fiction?

Both Maha and Yusif are not real people. They are characters in Ya Maryam, the novel I started writing after the attack against Sayyidat al-Najat in 2010 and published in Arabic in 2012. But there are hundreds of thousands of real Mahas and Yusifs.

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[11 Jun 2014 | No Comment | 107 views]
Rakha featured in The White Review: “Hoarseness: A legend of contemporary Cairo”

“With a grimy towel, another troll is making a show of wiping your windscreen so you’d have to hand over some coins while the traffic stalls. You blow your horn preemptively to tell him you’re not interested. And, as he spits on the tyre, shuffling menacingly before he moves on, you suddenly see how little ‘revolution’ has affected the ugliness that while not necessarily brought about, was definitely uncovered by Sadat.

You see it in the pollution and the garbage, the pointless and hopeless rush, the hawk- and leech-like behaviour of peddlers, the impossibly inconsiderate attitude of drivers to one another, the chaos, the deafening microphones playing bad shaabi and Quran, the ultimate paralysis of motion.

It’s ugliness that Mubarak – busy managing terrorists, then hogging the yield of slow privatisation à la crony capitalism – made no effort to control. But had he done, would it have made much difference?”

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[24 Feb 2014 | No Comment | 196 views]
The Atlantic publishes “Requiem for a suicide bomber” – By Youssef Rakha,

Of the hundreds of news items that cite your name, Mohammed Hamdan (Abu Hajar) al-Sawarka, none gives your age or personal details. It’s hard to believe you are older than 17. “Abu Hajar” suggests you already have a daughter, named after the wife of the prophet Ibrahim according to Muslim custom. But if that is the case she can’t be more than a few years old; it wouldn’t surprise me if you married right after puberty. Under the circumstances, of course, those who condemn you do not bother to account for your good looks, the mildness of your manner, or the child’s warmth in your smile—an earnestness that makes sincerity irrelevant, so ingenuous is your willingness to die.

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[16 Jan 2014 | No Comment | 207 views]
An excerpt from Mostafa Khalifa’s “The shell” featured in Asymptote

Mental writing is a technique developed by the Islamists. One of them would memorize more than ten thousand names, names of prisoners who had entered the desert prison, names of their families, the cities and villages they came from, dates they were arrested, their sentences, their fates…

When I decided to keep these diaries, I tried to train my mind. I transformed it into a cassette tape, on which I recorded everything I saw, and some of what I heard. Now, I am playing back some of what that tape contains.