An Arabic independent non-profit online quarterly concerned with translating English fiction
Albawtaka Review is an online magazine registered by http://www.fastdomain.com/ and its hosting services are provided by http://www.justhost.com/. All our data and contact information are compliant with the WDRP (Whois Data Retention Policy http://whois.net/whois/albawtaka.com) which we agreed to as part of The Domain Registration Agreement. And as we obtain translation and publication permissions from copyright holders, all our online contents are in accordance with international copyright agreements, mainly, the Buenos Aires Convention and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
Albawtaka Review has cooperated/is cooperating with the following institutions. I'm forever grateful for their support:
The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (www.arabculturefund.org)
The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture is a private independent Arab initiative dedicated to empowering the Arab contemporary narrative through strategic cultural philanthropy.
The British Council in Cairo (http://www.britishcouncil.org/egypt.htm)
British Council is UK's international organisation for educational and cultural relations and manages a wide range of activities covering the arts, science, technology and education.
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Albawtaka Review is an Arabic independent (non-governmental) free non-profit online quarterly concerned with translating English fiction. Edited by Egyptian translator Hala Salah Eldin, the review is the only print/online periodical dedicated to methodically and systematically introducing contemporary English fiction and the world's diversified cultures to the Arabic literati. The review has been funded by its editor, except when it received two grants from The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (2009-2012) to publish six online issues and print three anthologies of short fiction - books titled Sharp Senses, Ghosts With No Maps, and Hidden Faces are the fruits of this cooperation - and another grant from The British Council in Cairo (2011) to publish four online issues of the review.
The review has been launched in April 2006 as a monthly review then it turned into a quarterly starting from July 2007. It has published thirty-eight issues, presenting the biographies of ninety-three English-speaking writers and one hundred and five translated stories. In addition to showcasing celebrated authors, Albawtaka Review introduces the Arabic reader to authors he/she may have never encountered before, but who are weaving innovative fiction, unveiling the power of tolerance and acceptance. In these times of turmoil and cultural rejections, Arab publishing houses and reviews have unfortunately been inattentive to translating contemporary English fiction into Arabic. Albawtaka is an Arabic word meaning The Crucible, and translating literature is much like putting two precious metals into one pot and melting them to reach a new form of rareness. Arab readers see the life of others from different perspectives; they have been melted by the heat of prejudice then re-shaped to get bird's eye view at the world, free of judgment.
And along with translating outstanding pieces of fiction into impeccable Arabic language, Albawtaka Review sets another standard for the art of biography shedding light on the life histories and cultures of each of the writers being tackled. Albawtaka Review’s biographies are thoroughly informative as well as critical. The review's contributors have won the Noble prize, Man Booker Prize, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Award, BBC short story award, Caine Prize for African Writing, National Canadian Magazine Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction, among other honors.
Albawtaka Review depends on some of the most prestigious anthologies of English fiction such as The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Guardian Review Book of Short Stories, The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses as well as some of the highly respectable reviews published in the world such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Timothy McSweeney's, Granta, Kwani, The Walrus, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story, StoryQuarterly, Prospect Magazine, The Yale Review, Harvard Review, New Welsh Review, Callaloo, Other Voices, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Missouri Review.
One of Albawtaka Review’s goal is to present a panoramic view of contemporary English literature - no one style is advocated over another. The review appreciates works of fiction that would reveal something unprecedented about humanity, that would share with readers feelings identified by all people, raw sensations that have not witnessed sophistication. The review is especially interested in works that take on humane issues by making the invisible seen, that give voice to the voiceless - works that impart message form through aesthetic experience.
Writers’ colors, class, race, ethnicity, age, physical ability, gender, national identity, and religious affiliation do not determine the editor's choice in any way. Albawtaka Review does not and will not adopt any political agenda whatsoever. The review advocates a liberal approach towards literature, life and the world, as it strongly believes in sexual and religious freedoms. It stands by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender's humane rights, stressing on creating, through fiction, a world of equality and respect.
Albawtaka Review has brought out talents representative of the whole world that might have laid hidden from the Arabic scene for long years to come, revealing the bright side of the world's varied communities previously distorted by political clashes between Arab societies and the other. According to critics, the review has become an "intercultural institution," a gate in which Arabs can peer into the hopes and frustrations of the other. From its early issues, the review has proven that our flawed notions of non-Arabs can be altered. Readers can now identify and sympathize with other citizens of the world, recognizing them as human beings soliciting acceptance and integration to be finally regaining life and openness or crushed with the same tool that could crush us all, ignorance.
Albawtaka Review has presented various cultures, religions, and ethnic groups that met to coexist side by side, in the framework of language. Fortunate to be a free non-profit publication rendering literature into Arabic for more than six years, Albawtaka Review's fiction sheds light on voices from America, Canada, Japan, India, China, Bosnia, Haiti, Ireland, Korea, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Cambodia, Romania, South Africa, Israel, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Ireland, Wales, Ghana, and England. The review didn’t overlook fiction written by gifted Afro-Americans, Native Americans and Hawaiians, proving that even the American nation is widely multifarious.
There is a whole world unfolding from these works of fiction, exposing the face of a planet so rich it is able to contain all these backgrounds. The review tells a mosaic tale of shared humanity, of common ground, mutual joys and sorrows, initial curiosity then predestined discovery. It has explored some of the ways in which literature can unite people and provide them all with keen insight into each others lives. One of the main reasons for cultural clashes is the belief that the other is different, his behaviors unfamiliar and undecipherable, thus ominously unreachable. Translating literature has revealed the falsehood of this conviction, exposing that what unites us is actually more than what separates us apart. Vagueness always leads to hostility, as it impedes grasping the motives of others. Reading a translated text is, in fact, an intercultural encounter. It requires both affective and emotional engagement, shedding all fears of preconceived stereotypes and exoticism. Therefore, developing the habit of dialoguing with a translated text seems a promising, inevitable alternative to historical and political jargon.
Irresponsible politics have metamorphosed our world into segregated communities, loosely bound together by mutual benightedness and stereotypes. Only getting to know others through literature and art can result in a vibrant world without discrimination, benefiting us all, marked by the inclusion of all human beings in full respect of their rights. Reading Albawtaka Review, Arabs come out with the realization that all citizens of the world are one and the same, they only come in different outfits and colors. Therefore, nothing can plant sympathy and forbearance in our hearts and teach us to appreciate tolerance like identifying with the loss and agony of characters, albeit fictional, speaking a totally different language.
The Arabs' relationships with other communities needs a special healing, risky projects that could tone down the heated conflict. Politics have failed, and will continue to fail unless accompanied by a cultural movement that doesn’t hit Arabs in the face with blunt orders and political lectures. Everything seems totally hopeless if that precondition of an open-ended dialogue cannot be fulfilled in a subtle indirect manner, through which Arabs can be open to ideas they don't normally accept, like unconditional human rights, eroticism, physical freedom, LGBT rights, and religious freedom. We do think that literature, along with all forms of arts, are the ideal tool to defend less privileged citizens, minorities, and LGBTs. This realization is inevitable, as all political solutions have proved insufficient because the real reason for the pain remains largely ignored: Arabs don’t know about other societies. Fiction encompasses identity, existence, language, and visions, since this kind of understanding frees a liberal space in the mind and therefore allows for a new form of mediation between the self and the world without loss of face. That freedom from judgment is vital. When Arabs are aware of the complexities and diversities of the world and accept the interpretation which goes with this fact, they will be enlightened and soon run out to join the others again. The inner and outer self is then reconnected and communication with the world is possible again. Thus, being a channel of communication, translation has actually turned into a key factor as far as intercultural dialogue is concerned.
I am most grateful to the authors who have kindly granted Albawtaka Review permissions to publish their fiction for their generosity and support for this project. The owes it to them.
“The Story” by Amy Bloom
“The Third and Final Continent” by Jhumpa Lahiri
“A Distant Episode” by Paul Bowles
First chapter of An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Second chapter of An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Third chapter of An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Fourth chapter of An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
“Refuge in London” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
“What You Pawn I Will Redeem” by Sherman Alexie
“The Party” by Elizabeth Berg
“The Painted Drum” by Louise Erdrich
“Shamengwa” by Louise Erdrich
“Presence” by Arthur Miller
“Silver Water” by Amy Bloom
"You Wreck Her" by Parselelo Kantai
"The Dead Are More Visible" by Steven Heighton
"Murderers" by Leonard Michaels
"Swimming" by T Cooper
"Ostracon" by Alex Rose
"Lou and Liz" by George Gissing
"An Ordinary Soldier of the Queen" by Graham Joyce
"Discovering Home" by Binyavanga Wainaina
"The Scent of Cinnamon" by Charles Lambert
"The Worst You Ever Feel" by Rebecca Makkai
"The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp, and Carr" by Jesse Ball
"And We Will Be Here" by Paul Yoon
"Touch" by Alexi Zentner
"Seventh Street Alchemy" by Brian Chikwava
"The Casual Car Pool" by Katherine Bell
"Beauty and Virtue" by Agustín Maes
"A Tiny Feast" by Chris Adrian
"My Mother's Garden" by Katherine Shonk
"Love Poems" by Helon Habila
"Debarking" by Lorrie Moore
"Women Dreaming of Jerusalem" by Rachel Kadish
"Think of England" by Peter Ho Davies
"An Anxious Man" by James Lasdun
"Paper Lantern" by Stuart Dybek
Voices from Wales:
Thirty-ninth issue: July 2013
“The Priest and the Wind” by Anthony James
“TV Land” by Jon Gower
“The Fare” by Richard Lewis Davies