Cultural and literature sites

There are a number of media sites, blogs, literary journals, and cultural websites where there is information about Arabic literature, whether in English, French, Italian or other European languages:

Media sites and blogs

Al Jadid was founded in 1993 by Elie Chalala and is a digital magazine covering Arab arts and culture. It aims to provide “lively debates between secular and religious, traditional and modernist voices.” Al Jadid’s book section provides articles about literature and reviews of books translated into English.

Arablit and Arablit Quarterly, and ALQ Books is an English-language platform that brings together a translator-centered collective that produces a website, quarterly magazine, and a limited book series focused on Arabic literatures in translation. Arablit and Arabic-to-English literary translator Sawad Husain also organised the one-off Bila Hudood/Arabic literature everywhere festival which remains a great source with videos available on YouTube.

Arablit recently launched a monthly pay-as-you-can newsletter for publishing professionals about Arabic literature and translation on the online platform Substack.

Arabpop is an Italian-language magazine dedicated to the contemporary arts and literature of Arab countries which narrates the cultural changes following the Arab revolutions of 2011. It highlights original work by Arab artists and writers living in and outside the borders of the region, as well as long form interviews, translations of cultural articles from the Arab press, book, film, and music reviews, and more. It exists in paper and digital form and is published by Tamu Edizioni.

Arab World Books was founded in 1998 to provide information about literature from the Arab world in English. It lists books, authors, and newly published books in Arabic. Arab World Books also has a useful YouTube channel with interviews with a number of Arab authors.

Banipal magazine and Revista Banipal

Founded in 1998 Banipal published three issues a year until 2022, showcasing contemporary Arab authors in English-language translation. The site is still live and back issues of the magazine are available. In 2020 the Spanish-language edition of Banipal was launched, the Revista Banipal de literatura árabe moderna.

Country of Words: A Transnational Atlas for Palestinian Literature

Launched in October 2023, this digital-born project that seeks to retrace and remap the global story of Palestinian literature in the twentieth century, starting from the Arab world, and going through Europe, North America, and Latin America.

The authors, Refqa Abu-Remaileh, is Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Film at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Editoriaraba is an Italian website that began as a blog in 2012, run by Arabist Chiara Comito that provides information to the Italian public about Arabic literature and culture, including the Arab world’s cultural production and events. Comito is also the author, with Silvia Moresi, of the book, Arabpop, about art and literature of revolt in the Arab world, and one of the founding editors of Arabpop magazine.

Based in Ramallah, Fikra Magazine is an independent online literary magazine that publishes essays, short stories, and poetry in Arabic and English.

Fundación Al Fanar aims to connect the Spanish-speaking world with the political, social and cultural reality of the Arab world. It has a documentary archive, translates texts and documents written in Arabic into Spanish, or publishes articles about the Arab world in Spanish. It also
collaborates on translation projects between Arab and Spanish authors.

Hartmut Fähndrich is an Arabic to German translator. He writes in German on his blog about Arabic titles that he feels should be translated.

I Came for Couscous was founded by journalist and magazine publisher Mouna Anajjar this glossy independent magazine “highlights unique voices and creative minds from Arab cultures and backgrounds”

Kotobli is a book discovery platform in English and Arabic that features books from the Arab world or about the Arab world that are published in English and Arabic. The platform aims to highlight small authors and publishers from the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region.

The Markaz Review was launched in 2015 and is a non-profit English-language cultural platform with articles about cultural creators from the greater Middle East. It seeks to promote the writers, artists, filmmakers and other creative people in the Arab world, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.

The Middle East Eye is a London-based media website founded in 2014 by former Guardian journalist David Hearst. it focuses on news and culture from the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region and has a books section featuring reviews and articles related to literature and bookshops. The site is in English and French.

The New Arab is an English-language news and current affairs website launched in the UK in 2014. It aims to showcase “views and voices that promote a progressive discourse and counter autocratic and sectarian narratives.” Its book club section features reviews of books on the Arab world published in English.

Reviews about Middle Eastern literature in L’Orient Littéraire (in French) are hosted on the site until 2020 and on the Lebanese daily L’Orient le Jour site beginning 2020.

Publishing Perspectives is an international publishing industry trade magazine in English where you can find information about books and the book industry in the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region.

Qantara is run by the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and is a news site that focuses on the greater Middle East region and the Islamic world. Its cultural pages contain weekly book reviews. The site is in English and German and is funded by the German Foreign Office.

Rusted Radishes, the Beirut Literary and Art Journal was founded in the English Department of the American University of Beirut in 2012 with the intention of creating a space for both emerging and established writers who have a connection to Lebanon. The site is in English and Arabic.

Tunisian Literature was founded by blogger Ali Znaidi and appears to no longer be active, however this English-language blog dedicated to Tunisian literature has useful book reviews and interviews with authors.

Words Without Borders is a US-based magazine and platform on international literature that was founded in 2003, introducing English-language readers to translated literature. Over the years it has featured authors from around the globe including the Arab world, with original translations, features, and interviews. This is a precious resource with the possibility of searching for translated works from the Arab world and/or from specific countries.


Afikra ‘s Book Club is an community-based interview series that brings together those interested in literature focused on the Arab world. Conversations are held with the authors about their books whether published in Arabic or English.

Bulaq is a podcast in English about contemporary writing from and about the Middle East and North Africa in translation. It is co-hosted by Ursula Lindsey (in Amman, Jordan) and M Lynx Qualey (in Rabat, Morocco).

Casa Árabe runs a series of podcasts in Spanish which include episodes about books.

Comma Press, the Manchester-based publisher has a podcast series in English with several episodes on Arabic literature

Kerning Cultures Network is an English and Arabic-language podcast company that occasionally has episodes about books.

Tel Quel (Morocco) magazine’s book-themed podcast in French.

The Mosaic Rooms ‘s cultural podcasts in English with some episodes about books.

Permanent cultural spaces in Europe and festivals

Bozar, based in Brussels, partners with institutions to highlight culture. Within Bozar is the Mahmoud Darwish Chair founded in 2016. It presents contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa, promoting the work of filmmakers, directors, choreographers and writers from the Arab region and those living in the diaspora and their links to Europe.

Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA)in Paris was founded to create strong and durable cultural ties while cultivating constructive dialogue between the Arab world, France, and Europe. The cross-disciplinary space is where cultural projects and exhibitions are developed and held in collaboration with institutions, creators and thinkers from the Arab world. Each Thursday literary launches are held.

Institut des cultures d’Islam in Paris is a public cultural space showcasing diverse and dynamic Islamic culture in contemporary French and international cultural creations.

iReMMO (Institut de recherche et d’études Méditerranée Moyen-Orient)is a Paris and Marseille based independent think tank focusing on the Middle-East and the Mediterranean region. Through its various activities, it contributes to promoting knowledge of the region’s social, cultural, economical, and strategic challenges.

MUCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée) is a national museum based in Marseille that focuses on European and Mediterranean civilisations.

Festival Arabesques takes place in Montpellier in September and is dedicated to the arts from the Arab world.

Arabofolies festival takes place at IMA in Paris three times a year and celebrates arts, music, and ideas from the greater Middle East.

Internationales literaturfestival Berlin founded in 2001 is an 11-day international literary event.

Barzakh is a non-profit, non-governmental institution based in Berlin. Germany. It is interested in the research, production and promotion of cultural practices among artists from the Arab world to present it in Berlin and in Europe. One of its missions is to diffuse Arabic-language texts to a wider audience, by publishing and translating contemporary artistic and intellectual texts from and into Arabic.

Cultural Center of Greek and Arabic Literature (K.EL.A.L.P.) The main purpose of K.EL.A.L.P. is to contribute through research, study, analysis, discussion and dialogue, as well as targeted actions and programs, to raise the awareness about the Greek and Arabic culture and literature and language.

Casa Árabe is a government-funded entity founded in 2006 to develop mutual knowledge and shared reflection between Spain and the Arab world. It has two headquarters located in Madrid and Cordoba.

Institut des Cultures Arabes et Méditerranéenes (ICAM) is based in Geneva and aims to promote the cultures of the Arab world and encourage intercultural exchanges between Switzerland and the Arab world.

Babel Festival based in Bellinzona, Switzerland, Babel is a literary festival focussed on translation and in past editions invited authors such as Kamel Daoud, Elias Khoury, and Adania Shibli.

The Arab British Centre aims to further understanding of the Arab world in the UK by promoting its culture and sharing its knowledge. It organises and promotes cultural and artistic events, and hosts a community of like-minded resident organisations at its central London premises.

The Mosaic Rooms is part of the A.M. Qattan Foundation and is a London based non-profit cultural organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary culture from and about the Arab world. It encourages dialogue and debate about the most pressing social, political and cultural issues in the Arab world and beyond.

P21 Gallery is a London-based charitable trust promoting contemporary Arab art and culture. It also holds conferences, workshops, lectures, and film screenings for the general public.

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival founded in 1999, the festival takes place each summer across the city of Liverpool with a wide-ranging and multi-displinary programme that includes visual arts, performances, music, film, literature, and the spoken word.

Shubbak Festival is the UK’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture, bringing new and established artists to London every two years during the summer.

Arabic language bookshops in Europe

Institut du Monde Arabe librarie the Arab World Institute’s bookshop has 20 000 titles of all genres in French, Arabic, and English.

Librairie Averroes was founded in 1998 and specialises in books in French and Arabic from and about the Arab world.

Librairie de l’Orient specialises in books in Arabic and French about Arabic and Muslim culture and civilisation.

Maktabat Berfin opened in 2023 and sells new and used books. Reading groups are organised at the bookshop.

Khan Al Janub began as a bookshop, then cultural centre and is now a publisher as well.

Al Kutub is an online bookshop based in Germany that sells Arabic-language books.

Arabook/Kutubiyat is Venice-based bookshop founded in 2007 which specialises in Arabic-language books. Kutubiyat holds cultural events.

Libreria Griot is based in Rome and specialises in literature from the African continent as well as the Middle East.

Tamu libreria is based in Naples and specialises in world literature and has a selection of books from the SWANA region.

Librería Balqís is in Madrid’s Casa Árabe’s centre and sells books in Spanish and Arabic on all subjects pertaining to the Arab world.

Arabiska Bazar is based in Malmö and sells Arabic-language books on line in Sweden and in Europe.

L’Olivier bookshop is part of ICAM in Geneva and was founded in 1979. Besides being well-stocked in books in French and Arabic the bookshop holds frequent literary events.

Book fairs

Book fairs play an essential role in the publishing industry and in particular in the Arab world, where fairs are geared towards the public and are where most Arab publishers sell their greatest number of books each year. Certain book fairs in the Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) region can be interesting for European publishers to get a better sense of what is being published, and to meet with publishers and authors.
Publishing fellowships are available for several book fairs including the Abu Dhabi International book fair, the Cairo International book fair, the Doha International book fair, and the Sharjah International book fair. Recently, the Riyadh International book fair has shown signs of developing an international outlook. The Lebanon International book fair is back up and running and what used to be the Francophone book fair, run by the French Institute has now become Beyrouth Livres. For Francophone publishers the book fairs in Casablanca and Algiers can be interesting as well.