Bringing Arab Books to New York @ BEA
Long time not write – but frankly, May and June so far have been a frenzy time (but now I can relax). One main cause was the ambitious project of preparing the Global Market Forum: The Arab World for BookExpo America. After test runs in previous years on the ‘global English reading’ in 2007 and on publishing in China in 2008, we had our first really broad international grip on BEA – and it was a really great success by all measures.
We had exhibitors from most of the core countries of the Arab world, including Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah), an opening ceremony with Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League,
a very substantial and well attended professional program (both in number and profile of the attendees) covering topics from translation, editorial issues, childrens books, to distribution to copyright,
and for the first tim ever, a cultural program outside of the professional fair, with “New Eyes on the Arab World” at the New York Public Library,
bringing together a Saudi woman writer – Raja Alem – who had written, in English, with a US colleague – Tom McDonough – about Mekka, a pretty famous graphical novelist from Portland, who had extensively published in his art on Islamic countries and issues – Joe Sacco – plus probably the most renowned translator of Arab fiction in the US – Peter Theroux – with a Dubai based TV host – Suleiman Hatlan – as a moderator.
Allow me to say that rarely I was attending a panel debate that was really so lively, so personally involved and inciting so much curiosity (this is what the general audience said, not me). Oh, and you can see a live stream – here.