24 March 09 | Chad W. Post

This post originally appeared at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair blog.

To celebrate Beirut being the UNESCO World Book Capital 2009, the Hay Festival has created Beirut39, a three-day festival celebrating 39 of the best Arab writers under the age of 39.

Nominations for the 39 will come from publishers, literary critics, and members of the public (visit www.beirut39.com for more details on how to vote), and the final list will be selected by four famous authors: Abdo Wazen (poet and cultur editor of Al-Hayat), Hoda Barakat (author of The Tiller of Waters), Maher Jarrer (Palestinian critic and professor at the American University of Beirut), and Elias Khoury (playwright, essayist, journalist, and prizewinning novelist of Gate of the Sun and Yalo, among other titles).

The final 39 names will be announced in September of this year, and the Beirut39 festival will take place March 4th through 7th, 2010. Approximately 50 events will take place over this period and throughout the city of Beirut, focusing on a wide range of literary topics.

To further promote these “39 under 39″ an anthology of short stories will be produced in Arabic, English, and Spanish editions and promoted throughout the world.

Current partners in the Beirut39 project include Beirut UNESCO World Capital of the Book Committee, Banipal, The British Council, Lebanon, and Metaform X.

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