The young adult genre—which has traditionally been neglected by Arabic authors and publishers—is very much needed. Primarily, it’s needed to engage adolescent Arabic readers (13-18), but also by “crossover” adults who want to launch themselves into reading in simplified Arabic.
Note to publishers: This is potentially a large market segment.
But “young” adults of all ages can rejoice today, with three Arabic YA titles newly released or on the way: two written in Arabic (Fatima Sharafeddine’s lovely فاتن, released by Kalimat in October, and Samah Idris’s فلافل النازحين, to be released next week at the Beirut Book Fair by Dar al-Adab) and one in translation (الضفدع الناري, newly published by Al-Balsam books).
I had a wonderful talk with Fatima Sharafeddine yesterday about her YA novel, فاتن, which was launched at the end of October at the Sharjah International Book Fair. She told me:
Up to now, we don’t think of this age group as a special literary age group that has special needs.
Perhaps you could still count contemporary Arabic YA books—those written in Arabic—on one hand. Let’s see: three now by Samah Idris and one by Fatima. Yep, those all still fit on a hand.
But pretty soon, it’ll be two hands! And then…well, insha’allah I’ll run out of digits before we know it.