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International Authors at the ADIBF

One of the coolest bookfairs to attend is the Abu Dhabit International Book Fair. It’s the coolest in part for the setting (who doesn’t want to visit Abu Dhabi and neighboring Dubai?), in part for the chance to learn a ton about the Arab publishing world, in part for the great programming, and in part because Irum Fawad Siddiqui (the fair’s PR & Marketing Director) is so awesome.

Publishers interested in getting into this market (either getting their books—especially books for school kids—into this part of the world, or identifying great works to publish in translation) should definitely consider attending the fair. It’s an amazing opportunity, and outside of the fair itself, wandering the Grand Mosque or attending the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards are both unforgettable experiences.

Anyway, I just got an announcement about which authors are going to be attending this year, and am now even more excited about the possibility of going back to the ADIBF next March. (It runs from March 2nd until the 7th.)

Complete information about all of the authors who will be there can be found on the ADIBF website, but here are some of the highlights (including Open Letter author Mathias Enard! If anyone from the ADIBF stumbles across this post and wants to invite me to interview Enard, I’d be more than willing . . . ):

Abdelkader Benali
Home country: Morocco
Language: Dutch
In brief: Abdelkader was born in Morocco but has spent most of his life in the Netherlands, where he has been hailed as one of the most important young writers in the Dutch language today. His first novel, published when he was only 21 years old, was recognised with a Geertjan Lubberhuizen Prize for best literary debut. Its successor received the Libris Prize for Dutch literature. He is also a published playwright and essayist.
Works include: ‘Wedding by the Sea’, ‘The Long-Awaited’

Adam Haslett
Home country: the United States
Language: English
In brief: With a best-selling debut short story collection that was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, was nominated for a National Book Award and has been translated into 15 languages, Adam is one of America’s most sought-after young authors. His work has appeared in the Atlantic, The Nation, The New Yorker, a recent volume of the annual ‘Best American Short Stories’ collection and many other places, and in 2002 he was named New York Magazine’s Writer-of-the-Year. He has been a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and at Columbia University. His highly anticipated first novel will be released in the US in early 2010.
Works include: ‘You Are Not a Stranger Here’, ‘Union Atlantic’

Alawiyya Sobh
Home country: Lebanon
Language: Arabic
In brief: This novelist, poet and outspoken feminist has been hailed internationally for the way she has used writing to fearlessly confront some of the region’s most difficult contemporary social issues. Alawiyya is also the founder and editor-in-chief of one of the Arab World’s most important women’s magazines. In 2006 she was awarded Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Prize for Cultural Innovation in the category of literature.
Works include: ‘Maryam of the Stories’, ‘World’

Amit Chaudhuri
Home country: India
Language: English
In brief: One of India’s most celebrated modern writers, Amit has published five novels and many short stories, essays, poems and works of literary criticism. He served on the judging panels for the 2001 IMPAC Dublin International Literary Prize and the 2009 Man Booker International Prize, and has lectured extensively at universities across the UK and US. He has received numerous awards for his fiction, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book, the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction and India’s prestigious Sahitya Akademi prize. Amit currently serves as Professor in Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia.
Works include: ‘A New World’, ‘The Immortals’

Hamdy El-Gazzar
Home country: Egypt
Language: Arabic
In brief: A relative newcomer to the Arabic literary scene, Hamdy’s debut novel made a splash when it captured the 2006 Sawiris Foundation Prize in Egyptian Literature. He is also the author of several plays and short stories, as well as a number of screenplays for Egyptian television’s Culture Channel.
Works include: ‘Black Magic’

Mathias Enard
Home country: France
Language: French
In brief: A native French speaker, Mathias spent many years studying Arabic and Persian in the Middle East, and his passion for the region is apparent in many of his works. His latest novel, which has generated significant international buzz for being composed of a single sentence more than 500 pages long, was awarded the Prix Décembre and the Prix du Livre Inter in 2009. He currently teaches Arabic at the University of Barcelona.
Works include: ‘The Perfection of the Shot’, ‘Zone’

Qaisra Shahraz
Home country: Pakistan
Language: English
In brief: Born in Pakistan and raised in the UK, Qaisra has been widely acclaimed by critics for producing novels, short stories and television screenplays that offer particularly human characterizations of life in her native country and of the experiences of Pakistani immigrants in the West. She is also an educator and creative writing instructor, and has led workshops and seminars on these subjects abroad and in the UK. Her debut novel received a Golden Jubilee Award , and she has won several Pakistan Television Awards for her screenwriting.
Works include: ‘The Holy Woman’, ‘Typhoon’

Sahar Khalifeh
Home country: Palestine
Language: Arabic
In brief: This widely translated novelist is considered by many to be the most important living Palestinian writer, and her books are taught in university courses around the world. A prominent women’s rights activist, Sahar is also the founder of the Women’s Affairs Center in Nablus, with branches in Gaza City and Amman. She has taught at the University of Iowa in the United States and at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah.
Works include: ‘Wild Thorns’, ‘The Image, the Icon and the Covenant’

Tarun Tejpal
Home country: India
Language: English
In brief: Five years ago Tarun was best known as the founder of ‘Tehelka’, an Indian media outlet with a reputation for groundbreaking public interest journalism. Now with two critically acclaimed novels under his belt, the first of which won the Prix Millepages in France and was lauded by Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul as “a new and brilliantly original novel from India,” he has earned himself a place as one of India’s leading contemporary authors.
Works include: ‘The Alchemy of Desire’, ‘The Story of My Assassins’

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