I read with interest the article, CNN ‘beirut 39’ about the future of writers from the Arab world, and how according to Bill Swanson of Bloomsbury Publishing, within the next 5 to 10 years there is going to be an increase in publication of works from that part of the world.
As a writer from that part of the world, I myself have encountered quite a few rejections due to the locale of my stories, even though many who have read my first book ‘The Lost I’ from different nationalities, have identified with the characters and loved the story. I do write in English. I found it encouraging to know that from now on the publishing world would be open to writers from the Arab world.
On May 3rd 2010, I sent three emails to different editors and managers at Bloomsbury introducing myself and asking; ‘Does Bloomsbury have editors assigned for accepting and reading manuscripts from unsolicited writers from the Arab world?’
After a long wait with no response I emailed Bloomsbury Qatar this time; still no response even though they promise on their website to reply to all correspondence within three months.
Disappointed I said to my husband, “I was really looking forward to submitting my manuscript with a different perspective now.”
“Don’t get too excited, this is the Middle East we are talking about. What these people tell the media is different from what they actually do. We were there, remember?” he said.
I didn’t want to believe him even though, when first reading an article in Publishers Perspectives ‘Bloomsbury Qatar launched its list’ a reader had commented;
“If they are only going to sponsor reading/writing events I’m not sure how large an impact it will have on Arabic literature.”
‘Are these opportunities a reality or simply a mirage?’ asks Edward Nawotka of Publishing Perspectives.
I do sure like to believe they are opportunities since there is a well of writers and thinkers in the Middle East and the Arab world, who would love to see their work introduced to the rest of the world just like the works of Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel prize winning author from Egypt, Khalil Gibran, Nizar Kabbani, Mahmoud Darwish, and Edward Said to name just a few.