Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BQFP wins rights to 2013 IPAF winner The Bamboo Stalk

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing wins rights to 2013 ‘Arab Booker’ winner

Saud Alsanousi

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) has reached a deal to publish the English translation of Kuwaiti author Saud Alsanousi's novel Saq al-BambooThe Bamboo Stalk - which won the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF, known informally as the ‘Arab Booker’ award.) Alsanousi is the first, and so far only, Kuwaiti novelist to have won this prestigious prize, worth a total of $60,000 to the winner.

The Arabic original of the novel was published by Arab Scientific Publishers of Lebanon. It is being translated by the acclaimed British translator of Arabic literature Jonathan Wright. In January Wright was declared  joint winner of the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation 2013, for his translation of Egyptian writer Youssef Ziedan's 2009 IPAF-winning Azazeel.

BQFP Head of English Publishing Thalia Suzuma - who recently joined the Doha-based publisher from HarperCollins UK - won the English language rights to the daring novel from the London-based Susijn Agency. The translation will be published in 2015. Susijn's website has a page dedicated to  information on the novel and its author. The translation is due to be delivered by the end of July.

The Bamboo Stalk takes an unflinching look at the phenomenon of foreign workers in Arab countries and deals with the problems of identity, race and religion through the life of a young man of dual Kuwaiti-Filipino heritage returning home to Kuwait. The Arab Times described the novel as ‘a force to be reckoned with', which 'will take the Arab world and the whole world by storm.’

 The Bamboo Stalk

Thalia Suzuma says: ‘The Bamboo Stalk is a wonderful novel – an effortless, page-turning read; emotionally compelling and powerful. The themes of displacement and mixed roots are universal and handled with an extraordinary lightness of touch.

"BQFP is delighted to be publishing this book for an English-reading audience around the world, and we are so pleased to have award-winning translator Jonathan Wright on board.’

Saud Alsanousi, born in 1981, is a Kuwaiti novelist and journalist. His work has appeared in a number of Kuwaiti publications, including Al-Watan and Al-Arabi newspapers. He currently writes for Al-Qabas newspaper.

BQFP is a partnership of Qatar Foundation and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, which was  established in October 2008 and is headquartered in the Qatari capital Doha. BQFP has four main aims: to publish books of excellence and originality in English and Arabic; to promote the love of reading and writing and help establish a vibrant literary culture in Qatar and the Middle East; to cultivate new literary talent, especially in Arabic, through events and creative writing workshops; and to achieve the transfer of knowledge and publishing related skills into Qatar. It achieves the last of these aims through regular internships, secondments and training courses in key areas of publishing, and mentoring of aspiring Qatari publishers.
Susannah Tarbush

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