In a week where the future of Arabic science fiction is being debated at the Noor Festival’s Sindbad Sci Fi event ‘Arab Science Fiction: From Imagination To Innovation’ (Science Museum, 15th November) Comma’s latest sci-fi project Iraq Plus 100 , which invites contemporary Iraqi writers to imagine life one hundred years after the allied invasion of 2003, got an honourable mention.
London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat described the anthology, which is due to be published in 2015, as “trailblazing” and said it would be “a valuable addition to the realism-dominated Arabic literary scene”. Following the stunning success of Ahmed Saadawi’s novel Frankenstein in Baghdad, which scooped the Arabic Booker 2014, we at Comma hope that Iraq Plus 100 will encourage young writers from the region to explore this genre in new and exciting ways.
In keeping with the week’s Arabic theme, our Engagement Manager Sarah jetted off to the Sharjah International Book Fair to buy and sell rights to our books. A conservative city and emirate of the UEA on the edge of the desert, Sharjah is in many ways far removed from the other ‘big’ book fairs (Frankfurt, London and BEA (USA)) in the liberal West.
The business side of things is similar though. Sharjah has a focus on Arabic literature, and being a publisher of Arabic writers we got a lot of attention from international publishers for The Book of Gaza, The Madman of Freedom Square and The Iraqi Christ. Watch this space for developments!
Sarah also managed to unexpectedly score an Executive Suite at the hotel- check out the view! And opposite her room was the Royal Suite, complete with 24-hour guards. Rumours had it that’s where Dan Brown was staying….