Arab authors target Frankfurt book fair

2nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 July 2004 , FRANKFURT - Arab authors are hoping to use this year's Frankfurt Book Fair to showcase their work and to encourage the world's publishers to translate Arabic novels into a myriad of languages. The October fair, the world's biggest book show, features the Arab world as special guest this year, so Arab nations are funding a cultural programme for the German public with book readings, art shows and visits by theatrical dance troupes from Beirut and Cairo. "We'll encourage an open dialogue, witho

5 July 2004

FRANKFURT - Arab authors are hoping to use this year's Frankfurt Book Fair to showcase their work and to encourage the world's publishers to translate Arabic novels into a myriad of languages.

The October fair, the world's biggest book show, features the Arab world as special guest this year, so Arab nations are funding a cultural programme for the German public with book readings, art shows and visits by theatrical dance troupes from Beirut and Cairo.

"We'll encourage an open dialogue, without excluding the controversies, to demonstrate how we and the West historically shared the same values and can renew the commonality," said Mongi Bousneina, director general of ALECSO, the Arab cultural organization.

Of the Arab League's 22 members, 17 have booked space to promote exports of books and the rights to contents. With 200 publishing houses and 4,000 square metres of stand space, they will comprise the biggest special-guest contingent in the fair's 56-year history.

So far, 150 authors in Arabic are scheduled to attend the fair or take part in the Frankfurt-area cultural programme.

Volker Neumann, director of the fair, told reporters it offered Germany the opportunity to intensify its dialogue with one of the world's most culturally rich regions. He said 50 newly translated works of Arabic literature would appear in German this year alone.

Assia Djebar, the Algerian woman writer who won the German Book Trade Peace Prize at the 2000 fair, and Egyptian author Edwar al- Kharrat said many more translations into western languages, and more competent ones, were needed.

Djebar said the public should also know that Arabic authors faced discrimination in their own countries, and that there was little acceptance of Arabs who wrote in other languages. She writes in French.

Mohamed Ghoneim, the official in charge of the programme, said Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Kuwait and Iraq would not officially be present at the fair, but some of their intellectuals would represent them in spirit.

DPA


Subject: German news

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