Alaa Al Aswany Rejects Hebrew Translation

By Maryann Yin Comment

Bestselling Arab novelist Alaa Al Aswany has objected to a Hebrew translation of his novel, The Yacoubian Building.

According to the AFP, a volunteer translated the novel despite the author’s disapproval. The Israel/Palestine Centre for Research and Information (IPCRI) emailed the Hebrew translation to readers with the goal of “expand[ing] cultural awareness and understanding in the region.”

The New York Times offered this quote: “Dr. Al Aswany told Agence France-Presse, ‘What the center and the translator did is piracy and theft, and I will be complaining to the International Publishers’ Association.’ He added: ‘My position has not changed regarding normalization with Israel. I reject it completely.'”

Dr. Al Aswany started off as a dentist before he became a writer. In fact, his first office was housed in the actual Yacoubian Building. Humphrey Davies translated Dr. Al Aswany’s debut novel for the English market.