Cristina Dozio teaches Arabic Language and Culture at the University of Milan and literary translation from Arabic into Italian at a post-graduate level at SSML Vicenza. She has translated, with Elisabetta Bartuli, novels by Alaa al-Aswany and Dima Wannous and her translation of Moroccan author Youssef Fadel’s novel Ogni volta che prendo il volo, (A rare blue bird flies with me) was shortlisted for Premio Babel-Formentini dedicated to young translators.
Besides teaching Arabic language and culture, Cristina Dozio is also a literary translator from Arabic into Italian and spent time living in Egypt. There, she would find out about new books by going to bookshops and attended book signings; these days she also reads reviews on specialized blogs, and on social media.
For LEILA, besides titles from Egypt, she suggested a Libyan author who lives in Italy, and she investigated Tunisian literature because “there’s an opportunity to get European funds for Tunisian works. Tunisia is partnered with one of the Creative Europe programs and it could be interesting for us in Italy because it’s a small country, and it’s close to us, but we don’t know so much about its production in Arabic, we’ve mainly heard about productions in French.”
Other gaps she realized should be filled are literature from Sudan as well as emerging authors from the Gulf area. Short stories are popular in Arab world, and even if in the European market they can be difficult to publish, “this genre deserves to be translated.”
When pitching Italian publishers, it’s important “to look closely at their catalogues to see which books are suitable for them, whether they are modern classics or something between fiction and memoir or women writers. We also must work with new publishers, and we have a big responsibility to suggest several titles so that they can get an idea [of the literature]. It’s better to present publishers with a project that lasts two or three years so that they can get involved. The main idea is that it’s better to present a portfolio rather than a single title.”
She would “love to see some emerging authors especially female writers and I’d love to see modern classics being published and translated and presented as marketable and not just something that belongs to a library collection. From what I’ve read recently I’m interested in fictionalized memoirs and experimental prose writing.”