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New publication: Banipal, in Spanish 


In the summer of 2020 we will see Issue Number 1 of the new Spanish language version of  Banipal: Journal of modern Arab literature. The contents of this issue include a wide-ranging sample of prose and poetry by already well-known contemporary authors from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. 

July 20, 2020
ESPAñA
Created by Margaret Obank and Iraq’s Samuel Shimon in England in 1997, it was originally intended to counteract the lack of Arab literature in the English-speaking world. The journal’s name was meant to honor Asurbanipal, the last great king of Assyria, who founded the world’s first library in Nineveh.

“The journal featured chapters of novels, short stories and poems in English translation, along with book reviews and the latest news. It showed the current Arab literary scene to English-language readers, and, of course, publishers” explains Obank.

Thus, through the journal’s regular publication, hundreds of works by Arab authors were made available in English. Literary festivals began to invite writers to their events as a result of this translation work. Several literary anthologies were published in the West, including texts which were first published in the journal.

Now, over 22 years of experience have helped lead to a major shift in attitudes about the translation of Arabic literature into English and from English into other languages. The mark which the journal left behind is undeniable, and some scholars even speak of the “Before Banipal” and “After Banipal” eras, according to Margaret Obank.

Now the time has come for it to be translated from Shakespeare’s tongue to Cervantes’. Behind a cover displaying a work by painter Hanoos Hanoos are short stories by Palestinian writer Mahmoud Shukair, by Iraq’s Salima Salih, and her fellow countryman Muhsin Al-Ramli, as well as Tunisia’s Rachida el-Charmi, and many other authors, comprising a varied list of texts by writers of different cultures and origins: from Lebanese-Canadian writer Rawi Hage to Dutch-Moroccan Abdelkader Benali. In addition to essays and prose, the journal also includes poetry, with special sections on Omani Saif al-Rahbi, and Abdel Aziz Jassim from the Emirates.
New publication: Banipal, in Spanish