By Susan Harris
To our delight, a number of WWB authors have sold English-language rights to their work as a result of publication in WWB. We'll be highlighting some of them in this series.
The prolific Moroccan writer Abdelilah Hamdouchi had not appeared in English before WWB published a chapter from his Final Bet in our May 2006 issue. Hamdouchi's English-language debut, in Jonathan Smolin's translation, also marked the first English publication of an Arabic detective novel. Set in Casablanca, the crime story—a young man is suspected in the murder of his elderly, and wealthy, wife—provides a window into Moroccan culture, as the brutal zeal of the investigators clashes with the new police reforms sweeping the city. The extract drew immediate attention from German and Swedish publishers, as well as from English-language houses. The fine American University in Cairo Press published the book, in Smolin's translation, in May 2008, in a gratifying extension of WWB's mission to introduce international writers to the English-language audience.
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