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Everything you need to know about the world's great writers and emerging voices is being collected and shared on the English PEN Online World Atlas. Head over to the Atlas to create (or edit) a profile for your favourite author or book, leave a comment or contact another user, and discover your next great read. We believe that great writing has the power to change your life and change the world, one book at a time.

The Atlas is proud to be partnering with the Hay Festival's Beirut39 contest, celebrating Beirut's year as UNESCO World Book Capital, to find the hottest authors under 40 of Arabic origin. Nominations are open until August 24th, 2009.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Arabic Booker (Almost) Announced...

And if the Abu Dhabi book fair's coming up, then so is the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, aka the "Arabic Booker," which will shower its bounty - including English translation paid for by Sigrid Rausing, owner of Granta - at the fest. Both The National and the LA Times are spinning the award's potential for controversy: the LA Times focuses on the religious taboos broken by Ibrahim Nasrallah and by Yousuf Zeydan's Beelzebub. Ed Lake at the National picks up on two books that are about the vexed role of the translator/interpreter, suggesting that:
It would be interesting to see Fawaz Haddad’s entry, The Unfaithful Translator, take the prize, if only to see what the Granta people make of it. The Syrian author tells the tale of an interpreter whose unconventional views on the role of free translation in creativity and culture see him condemned for betrayal.
He also picks up on:
the one woman on the list, Inaam Kachachi, [who] presents what may be the timeliest offering. The American Granddaughter shows the ravages of modern Iraq through the eyes of an American-Iraqi woman. She returns to her home country in the compromised role of US Army interpreter; how else could that old feminist saw “the personal is political” be made to pack a more dramatic punch?

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