Sharjah Book Fair Aims to ‘Create a New Record’

Miss you Sharjah !

ARABLIT & ARABLIT QUARTERLY

Buzz is beginning to circulate about this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair, an eleven-day festival set to open November 4:

sibfThe Sharjah fair has swollen from just a handful of literary events in 2007 to a promised “nearly 900” — or “more than 900” — events set for 2015, as well as a promised 1.5 million individual book titles.

The fair is also “guaranteed” to beat its previous visitor count of 1.47 million, according to book-fair director Ahmad Al Ameri, who is also the chair of the Sharjah Book Authority.

In a 2010 interview, Al Ameri said that, way back in 2007, there were only nine cultural events at Sharjah’s fair. Although the fair has by now been running more than thirty years, for most of its history, the SIBF was like many other book fairs in the region: mostly a way for city residents to gain access to a selection of discounted books…

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Nizami’s works became the model for subsequent romance literature

Ismailimail

Nizami Ganjavi, one of the greatest romantic poets in Persian literature, was born in 1141 in Ganja, modern-day Azerbaijan and lived at a time of intense intellectual activity. Since he was not a court poet, his name does not appear in the records of the dynasties. A prominent poet acquainted with Arabic and Persian literature, he was also learned in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, botany, and the Qur’an.

Manuscript of Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, dated 1527 Iran (Image: Aga Khan Museum) Manuscript of Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami, dated 1527 Iran (Image: Aga Khan Museum)

Nizami composed qasidas and ghazals, only a small number of which have survived, but is best known for his five long narrative poems which have been preserved in a collection titled Khamsa (The Quintet). Written in masnavi style totalling 30,000 couplets, the Khamsa was a popular subject for lavish manuscripts. Three of the five works –  the romantic tale of Khusrau wa Shirin, the love story of Layla wa Majnun

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Arabic Literature in Persian, Persian Literature in Arabic

Kalila Wa Dimna – Original text was written nearly 2,500 years ago in Sanskrit and translated to Pahlavi Farsi and Greek to Farsi and Arabic. My interest is in the wide varied illustrated manuscripts of Kalila Wa Dimna.

ARABLIT & ARABLIT QUARTERLY

Last week, Iranian journalist Farahmand Alipour (@FarahmandAlipur) had a fascinating interview with Farsi-Arabic translator Ghassan Hamdan:

Kalila w Dimna, a text that traveled from Persian to Arabic. Kalila w Dimna, a text that traveled from Persian to Arabic.

In a wide-ranging talk, the two addressed Hamdan’s personal history, the growing interest in Iranian novels in Arabic, the particular difficulties in distributing novels published in Iraq, and what sorts of Arabic novels are published in Persian.

On that topic:

 According to research conducted a few years ago about Persian and Arabic novels, only 2% of the novels that have been translated into Persian in modern time were Arabic novels. Those Arabic novels that have been translated into Persian usually have historical and religious themes — for example, works of Jurji Zaydan, who is also popular because he has a simple writing style and uses an easy and understandable language. Gibran Khalil Gibran is also popular among Iranians, because the mystic theme in his…

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