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Italian-Arab literary magazine aiming to ‘revitalize culture between Med shores’


“Arabesque,” overseen by Algerian novelist Amel Bouchareb, looks to reveal the variety and richness of Arab and Maghrebian literature. (@AmalBoucharebAB)


ROME: A new magazine aiming to introduce Italian readers to Arab literature and bridge the cultural and literary gap between Italy and the Maghreb has been launched.


“Arabesque,” overseen by Algerian novelist and translator Amel Bouchareb, also looks to reveal the variety and richness of Arab and Maghrebian literature, the North African region with historic ties to Italy and where many migrants in the country hail from.


The first issue of the magazine — a bi-annual publication — opens with a feature titled “Love in Arab Culture.” Through selected readings of Arabic poems translated into Italian, it details how Arabic culture experiences love in literature and the arts, as well as investigates the region’s literary concept of love.


Bouchareb, the magazine’s editor in chief, has lived in Turin, Italy, since 2014.

She has received several awards and recognitions for her short stories and novels, and has overseen Arabic translations of several famous Italian authors, including Niccolo Machiavelli (author of “The Prince,” a landmark of Renaissance literature) and writer and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.


Published by Italian publishing house Puntoacapo, the magazine also seeks to stay independent from political speech and ideological approaches, and highlight the aesthetic side of literature to Italian readers.


Bouchareb said that reading is a “revolutionary act that can change a person’s life and free them from the contradictions that imprison them.”


Books answer questions that cross your mind, make an impression and above all shape personality, she said, adding: “We are the product of everything we read in our life.”


In her first editorial, she said that since she moved to Italy, she found it “more than necessary to revitalize cultural relations between the two shores of the Mediterranean.”


She added that Arab and Italian cultures “have a lot in common,” and “finds it a pity” that so few Maghrebian literary works are translated into Italian.


“It is sad to see that the translation of Italian literature in the Arab world is also limited to commercial options,” she said.


“In ‘Arabesque,’ we managed to involve the best translators and scholars, and we hope that this will spark the launch of more initiatives. I hope to see in Italy many other magazines and series dedicated to Arab culture,” Bouchareb added.


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