The Egyptian publishing house Dar Al Shorouk celebrated the launch of a joint venture on Tuesday.
Shorouk-Penguin will publish Arabic works in English, as well as Arabic language editions of local writing and new translations of Penguin classics.
During the ceremony, which was held at the Mohamed Ali Palace in Manial, Dar Al Shorouk Chairman Ibrahim al-Mualim said, “My more than 40 years in the world of culture have given me the chance to visit many countries for publishing activities. On my travels I learned that there is a near-consensus that Penguin’s classics are the most precise, rich, and inclusive in its choices, editing and distribution, as well as the best when it comes to objectivity, diversity and distinction.”
He went on to say that the new venture was a decisive one and that he hopes it will help bring a shift in the publishing and translation industries.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Penguin Group John Makinson said, “We hope the venture will be a business success for both Dar Al Shorouk and Penguin, but our joint venture will have failed if it does not simultaneously achieve a cultural and symbolic significance, so that we can build a small bridge between the Arabic and the English speaking worlds.”
Novelist Khairy Shalabi expressed his happiness with the joint venture by saying, “This is an important event for Arabic culture in general. There isn’t any writer in the world that hasn’t dreamed of having a book published by Penguin.”
“This is in addition to the fact that until now the Western reader is only familiar with the Arab world through works translated either for teaching purposes in certain universities, or for the interest of imperial countries wishing to acquire information about countries they want to occupy. This venture will allow the Western world to appreciate Arabic literature as a part of the culture that shaped it rather than for other reasons,” Shalabi added.
Writer Alaa al-Aswani said the venture represented a necessary bridge between the Arab and Western worlds. He said many Western countries know nothing about the Arab world other than what they hear about terrorism and explosions, and these works of literature will allow them to see the civilized nature of the Arab world.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.