Feb 05 2005

Boom in Arabic Translation Post-Sept. 11

Published by at February 5, 2005 4:15 pm under Translation

Increasingly, writers, readers and publishers are turning to literature as a bridge between cultures, particularly Western and Arab societies estranged since Arab extremists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

This in turn is driving a boom in translation.

Those involved in the push say the American University in Cairo Press is an inspiration.

AUC Press has been publishing Arabic literature in translation for 20 years – its backlist of some 100 novels represents one of the largest collections of modern Arabic literature in English in the world.

Its latest offering is The Yacoubian Building by Al Aswany, a bestseller since it appeared in Arabic in 2002.

It’s a provocative survey of the social and political pressures of the present that have many Egyptians looking nostalgically to their more tolerant and hopeful past.

Al Aswany says it may help the world understand the political stagnation and corruption that leads many Arabs to extremism and violence.

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