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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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Towering Babels? Arabic and/as Other Languages

Two interesting posts about language(s) today, first from blogger Lameen Souag, who is studying translation at SOAS, and keeps the blog Jabal al-Lughat blog, where a fascinating discussion is flowing about "French among Algeria's elite" and the place of Arabic and Berber in Algerian culture, politics and literature. It's an informed debate around a complex issue, showing how language is tied up with all sorts of identities: national, ethnic, classed, generational, and political.

The Washington Times, on the other hand, boobs in its review of Rafik Schami's The Dark Side of Love, claiming that Anthea Bell translated the book "from the Syrian." The Literary Review and Three Percent are all over this mistaken claim, with Chad Post pointing out that - among other things - Bell is probably one of the best-known translators from German: the language in which the book was first published in 2004. Schami's novel does cover an epic sweep of Syrian history, but he moved to Germany in 1971.

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