Amherst Panel Conversation Raises Awareness about Contemporary Arabic Literature

Roughly 3 percent of books published in the U.S. every year are works in translation. Of that 3 percent, only about 4.3 percent are translated from Arabic.

The Common panel participants
Panelists Michel S. Moushabeck, founder of Interlink Publishing; John Siciliano, executive editor at Penguin Random House; and Jennifer Acker '00, founder and editor-in-chief of The Common, Photo by Steven Tagle. 

How often do you read books in English that have been translated from other languages? Chances are, not often. Have you ever read a book in English that was translated from Arabic? Chances are, you haven't. Statistically speaking, your chances of finding any work in translation—works from the Arab world in particular—on the shelves of your local bookstore are minimal.

Roughly 3 percent of books published in the U.S. every year are works in translation; of that 3 percent, only 4.3 percent are translated from Arabic. This spring, Jennifer Acker '00, founder and editor-in-chief of Amherst's literary magazine The Common, moderated a panel conversation at Amherst about contemporary Arabic fiction and began by citing these bleak statistics (which come from publisher Chad Post, who provided them to Publishers Weekly for this article).

"Our hope," Acker explained, "is that all of our collective efforts as readers and writers, community members and publishers ... can help to increase that number."

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Writer Olga Grushin to Read at Amherst College Feb. 19

February 9, 2007Director of Media Relations 413/542-8417 AMHERST, Mass.—Russian and American writer Olga Grushin will read from her fiction at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Creative Writing Center at Amherst, the reading is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.