Tayeb Salih on Arabic Literature

Tayeb Salih (whose Season of Migration to the North should, I think, be assigned reading whenever Heart of Darkness is studied) talks to Reuters about the state of Arabic literature.

“If you find a publisher who believes in Arab literature and takes a risk on it, not just publishing a few thousand books, you will find readers for it,” said the 76-year-old writer, who is married to a Scot and has lived much of his life in England.

“The Arab novel has reached a very high standard which is comparable to any standard, anywhere in the world. The fact that this is not recognised abroad is a matter either of criteria … or it is a lack of enthusiasm for foreign products,” he said.

Still, the Reuters guy can’t help but trot out those discredited numbers about readership in the Arab world. Sigh.