Should Extremist Views Be Available to Readers in Egypt?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Now that Egypt is close to eliminating censorship and opening its citizenry to a plentitude of political and religious views, the question arises of whether or not it is appropriate to have books with the most extreme views on sale in bookshops. In today’s lead story, Ramy Habeeb argues against censorship, saying that all points-of-view should be …

In the Age of Censorship vs. Instant News, This is When We Need Literature the Most

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka “I believe society has a right to defend itself, just as the individual has the right to attack that with which he disagrees.” — Naguib Mahfouz As discussed in today’s lead story, the mounting revolution in Cairo has shut down the Cairo International Book Fair. Meanwhile, those interested in developments are dependent on impromptu and conventional news …

Penguin Enters Arab Market with Joint Venture

In Arabic Publishing by Hannah Johnson

By Hannah Johnson Pearson PLC announced today that its Penguin Group has launched a joint venture with Egyptian publisher Dar El Shorouk. The “Shorouk-Penguin project” will translate into Arabic 12 English-language titles from the Penguin Classics series, in addition to publishing up to eight original Arabic classics. The first titles will be available in early 2011. According to the press …

Second Careers, or Why You Never Really Leave Publishing

In Guest Contributors by Chip Rossetti

By Chip Rossetti In the fall of 2004, I was an editor at a New York publishing house, acquiring serious narrative nonfiction and history. I had been working in trade publishing for nine years. I had also, in the wake of 9/11, been studying Arabic in the evenings, going to a teacher’s house in the outer boroughs once a week …

Middle East Graphic Novelists Push Boundaries

In Growth Markets by Chip Rossetti

By Chip Rossetti • Last week, we looked the market for comic books and graphic novels in the Middle East is small, but growing. • In this, the second part of our two-part series, we examine how graphic novelists in the Middle East are pushing the boundaries of publishing by tackling controversial topics in their work, but also paying a price …

Are Graphic Novels and Comics More Dangerous than Prose Novels?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead story looks at how graphic novelists are pushing boundaries and challenging taboos in the Middle East. In one case, that of Magdy El Shafee’s groundbreaking Metro, the Egyptian courts objected to its depiction of corruption and criminality, fined the author and publisher, and had the book pulled from store shelves. Surely, this is not an …

Are There Still Topics Too Taboo for Fiction?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead story by Chip Rossetti discusses the popularity of Essam Youssef’s heroin-fueled novel 1/4 Gram, which is set in the world Cairo’s high society. Some of the popularity of the novel is that it portrays a world — a taboo world — little seen by readers in the Arab world. The same could be said for …