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Issue 45 - March 2008
Friday 28 March 2008
Next Page at Abu Dhabi Book Fair
Abu Dhabi Book Fair is becoming more international each year. This year the fair was held from 10th to 16th March and its lively program of events was wisely divided into "professional" days and days open for the wide public. The wide public at this very fair was mainly comprising of crowds of excited schoolchildren taking advantage of the book purchasing coupons provided to them by the authorities.
Much to Next Page’s delight, the opening conference was dedicated to the challenges of publishing translations into and from Arabic, with participation of prominent European publishers, agents and translators and their Arab colleagues. Much to Next Page’s disappointment, though, the lively discussions revealed - among other things - the discrepancy between the business environment in Europe and the Arab world that often leads to misunderstandings and mutual suspicions when rights - and publishing deals are concerned.
Later on, during the fair itself the organizers provided excellent conditions for networking and matchmaking between Arab and international participants. As part of Next Page’s wider agenda for promoting translations into Arabic, we provided materials on translations’ support schemes kindly hosted by the Literature across Frontiers stand at the fair. Next Page director Yana Genova spoke at a panel on translations in Arabic as well as at various networking events across the fair.
The program was not short on events and ceremonies. Among some of the noteworthy ones this year were the announcement of Baha Taher as the winner of the first International Prize for Arabic Fiction (given by the Emirates Foundation together with the London-based Booker Prize Foundation) as well as the award ceremony for the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards that are given annually in several categories.
Next Page was at the fair thanks to the kind invitation of Kitab - the new joint venture of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and Frankfurt Book Fair which organizes the fair. While not everybody goes to Abu Dhabi (yet) the way everybody goes to Frankfurt, the first step has definitely been made.
New books published
Alija Krasnići, E Erdzanosko Suno (The Dream of Erdzan), published in Romani by Rromane pustika (Subotica, 2007), supported by the Grants program of the VORBA project
Alija Krasnići is an author that does not need to be presented to those interested in Romani literature and culture. Born and grown up in a traditional family of Gurbet Roma, he got his education in Pristina and started writing short stories describing the life of Roma in mahalas (communities). With his unique talent to masterfully present Roma everyday life, Krasnići got European-wide recognition and a number of renown international prices for Roma literature.
This is not the first children book of Alija Krasnići, but it differs significantly from the others by the character of the narrated story and the illustrations that accompany it. While typical for the other children books of Krasnići is the dynamic feeling that they are just picked from the life or are describing something what the author has observed, E Erdzanosko Suno leads us in a wonderful fantastic world of a seven-year-old boy living with his brothers and grandma in a distant dusty mahala. In his dreams Erdzan meets animals in places and continents which he only has heard of in school or saw on TV, and the story is so impressive that the we see how the will to know the world opens fabulous possibilities for every eager child.
The book is being presented by the author on meetings with Romani children in schools all over Vojvodina where Romani language is part of the curriculum
Asli Erdogan, The City in Crimson Cloak, translation into Arabic by Bakr Sidqi (Cadmus Press, Damascus 2008), supported by the South - South Translation Grants Program
If you enjoy reading and sinking into “literary cities” – as Joyce’s Dublin, Kafka’s Prague, or Jean Rhys’s Paris from Good Morning Midnight – go for Rio de Janeiro, narrated and experienced in the second novel, written by one of the most celebrated Turkish female writers Asli Erdogan. Originally published in Turkey in 1998, and acclaimed by the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, as well by the literary critics, The City in Crimson Cloak has been already translated in French, Norwegian, and English. The novel tells a story about a single day of the protagonist Özgür, which turns out to be the last day of her life. This dark surreal walk through the underclass sin-city Rio, but also through the hell’s circles of heat, hunger, thirst, and alienation, finds its projection in the novel-within-the novel, written by the main character Özgür. A masterful and fascinating text, about how – through literature – one reconciles with life, postpones death, and in the end deserves it.