Started by Margaret Obank in 1998, Banipal is an independent literary magazine with the aim to promote contemporary Arab literature by translating it into English. Published three times a year, this weighty publication (at 200 pages on average) offers a wide range of novel excerpts, poetry, reviews and more from the best Arabic writers out there.
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The Iraqi writer Fadhil Al Azzawi had this to say about his respect for the achievements of Banipal:
‘What Banipal has achieved for Arab literature and culture in its 21 issues is more important than all the work of all the Arab ministries of culture, which have almost completely failed to do anything for Arab culture. Banipal has enabled the English reader not only to read the works of Arab writers, but also to discover the real craft of modern Arab literature. We have only one real minister for Arab culture: Margaret Obank’
Banipal’s continued success in the intervening years since Azzawi made this statement prove the truth of this claim. Crisp and beautifully set, the magazine continues to host its wide range of examples of Arab literature, the first time that many have been printed in English, granting readers an insight into Arabic culture in its differences and similarities to the west.