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New Voices of Modern Arab Literature // Arabic Translation Available

“In addition to being afforded time to work in solitude, these writers also engage in the company of other artists-in-residence, which is often the richest opportunity offered by a residency. It is frequently in the fellowship around the table that provides the strength required to return to the studio and unlock the creative beauty within.”

We are thrilled to announce the release of the newly translated English/Arabic version of New Voices of Modern Arab Literature. The report details the rich collaboration between the Alliance and Beirut39 from 2010 to 2013, which connected 18 emerging Arab writers with residency opportunities across six countries.

Writers were selected through the Beirut39 competition, which set out to identify and support a new generation of Arab writers struggling to find a wider audience for their work. As highlighted in a recent Grantmakers in the Arts research review, opportunities for artists from Arab-countries to engage and gain visibility with American audiences are extremely limited. A fact that is especially true of emerging writers and for opportunities that allow for deep engagements over time.

The New Voices of Modern Arab Literature consortium project gave participating writers time, space, and funding to develop new work as well as the opportunity to connect with international arts communities. Selected writers hailed from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen – traveling to unique residency sites across the US – from Santa Fe to Santa Monica, from an island off Puget Sound to a historic house on a Midwestern Prairie – as well as programs in North Africa and Europe. The program was piloted at the La Napoule Art Foundation (a US-based organization operating a residency at the Clews Center for the Arts in France) and supported 30 residencies at 18 residency centers across the three years.

We are excited to revisit the New Voices of Modern Arab Literature and to highlight stories of each participating writer through the newly translated report. We hope it will invite further conversation around the unique potential for residencies to foster cultural exchange and forward diplomatic strategies, to build artist networks, and support emerging voices from underrepresented regions. And, just as importantly, we look forward to sharing the rich accounts of each writer’s journey through captured firsthand. As Nassan Adnan, a writer from Morocco, simply puts, “I met amazing artists and we had wonderful, intimate dinners and creative cultural exchange … Montalvo is a beautiful dream, where I spent mere days, perhaps the most beautiful days of my life.”

Learn more about New Voices of Modern Arab Literature | Beirut 39 at:

Download the English or Arabic translation report.

Generous funding for this project was provided by The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art | Building Bridges Program and the National Endowment for the Arts.