Rheam’s Arabic book conveys politics of Africa: Publisher

BY SHARON SIBINDI

EGYPTIAN publisher Al-Arabi, Sherif Bakr, has described a Bulawayo-based teacher, Bryony Rheam’s novel This September Sun as the best, claiming it brought to its readers a wide range of political readings about Africa.

The novel was first published by amaBooks in Bulawayo in 2009, with its second edition being published three years before Al-Arabi launched it in January this year at the Cairo International Book Fair in Egypt, after it was translated into Arabic.

“This September Sun is one of this year’s newly-translated titles for Al-Arabi. It is the first Africa-centred novel translation for Al-Arabi that has, over the past four decades, brought to its readers a wide range of political readings on Africa,” he said.

“The gratifying novel that came out in late 2009, examining layers of the lives of the “settlers” of Rhodesia, continues to haunt Zimbabwe’s grandchildren.”

Bakr said the recently held Cairo International Book Fair was a success.

“This was a good year, with book fair visitors, where the book (This September Sun) was launched, showing great interest in learning more about the world.

“We did well. Our new titles of translated novels and books were well received, with people happy to go through the piles of books that bring to them ideas from Finland, Serbia, Austria, Zimbabwe and many other countries,” he said.

Bakr said he was lucky to have met the Zimbabwean publishers of the novel at the Frankfurt book fair.

“I learnt about the book. I keep looking for African writers or otherwise for books written about Africa. We do feel that we still have so much to do on Africa,” he said.

Rheam said she was happy with the response to the book and was optimistic that it would reach a wider readership.

“The response to the Arabic translation of This September Sun has been very positive. I did not choose Arabic. The rights to the novel were sold by my Zimbabwean publisher, amaBooks, and to the Egyptian publisher, Al-Arabi,” she said.

“The book is already published in English in the United Kingdom, Kenya and now in Arabic in the Arab world. It is thrilling to think of my words being translated into other languages, and I hope there will be further translations.”

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