Friday, October 02, 2009

youssef ziedan's ipaf winner 'azazel' in translation deals

Further evidence of the role of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) in stimulating translation of Arabic fiction into other languages comes with a report from the Emirates News Agency WAM that translations of this year's winner "Azazel" (Beelzebub) by Egyptian novelist Youssef Ziedan are to be published in the UK and five other European countries, plus Indonesia, next year. IPAF is a prestigous literary prize, worth a total of $60,000 to the winner.

The foreign publication rights are handled by London-based literary agent Andrew Nurnberg Associates (ANA) International. ANA also handles foreign rights for Ziedan's fellow Egyptian author Bahaa Taher who won IPAF in 2008, its inaugural year, for his novel "Sunset Oasis". Sceptre, the literary imprint of Hodder & Stoughton, published the book in the UK last month in translation by Humphrey Davies. Taher recently made a joint appearance at the Frontline Club in London with Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury to discuss "Sunset Oasis" and Khoury's novel "Yalo".

The English translation of "Azazel", being done by Jonathan Wright, is to be published by Atlantic Books. The other European publishing deals for the book are in Germany (Luchterhand), Italy (Neri Pozza), Greece (Livanis), Bosnia and Croatia (Ljevak) and Romania (Trei). In Indonesia the novel will be published by Serambi.

IPAF, launched by the Emirates Foundation in association with the Booker Prize Foundation of London, has the sobriquet "the Arab Booker". The longlist for the 2010 award is due to be announced on November 17, and the shortlist on December 15. The winner will be announced in Abu Dhabi on March 2. The judging process has stirred up considerable controversy in the first two years of IPAF, and the same is likely to be true in the current round of assessment. In the previous two years the identity of the judges was not revealed until the shortlist was announced, so as to avoid any attempts at external pressurisation of the judges. The previous two shortlists confirmed the strong position of Lebanon in publishing fiction, and of Egypt in fiction writing.

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