Khadra: European Literature Night and Beyond
For two years running we have been incredibly lucky to have one of our books selected for European Literature Night. In 2014 was The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain and this year the committee chose Yasmina Khadra’s The African Equation. ‘The criteria are simple: excellent literature, excellent translation.’ said Rosie Goldsmith. And this recognition to our authors and their work comes as a great achievement as only six contemporary writers are selected from more than 50 submissions.
The African Equation tells a story that goes deep into the core of human nature. Are violence and evil inevitable components of the human condition? This is a novel that tackles topics that are relevant and current; not only in the East coast of Africa (where the story takes place) but it goes far beyond as friendship, the need of survival and belonging have no borders or nationalities attached.
Yasmina Khadra’s participation in European Literature Night on 13 May 2015, along with translator Howard Curtis and chaired by Rosie Goldsmith was a memorable experience for those who attended. European contemporary literature is in good health, and initiatives such as these are a very much needed recognition to the work of publishers, translators and above all, good literature. During the event Graphic artist Ian Long was commissioned by European Literature Night to create drawings of the participating authors and translators. A brilliant idea that should be introduced in many more literary events. These wonderful drawings give a fresh and different view of what is going on in the panel.
Making the visit of any author successful involves the effort of more than one. Khadra’s visit to London was made possible with the collaboration with the French Institute. Making the most of his stay, the Institute organised a special screening and Q&A of the film adaptation of his best selling novel The Attack. The 2012 film L’Attentat is a Lebanon/France/Qatar and Belgium production, directed by Ziad Doueiri. After the film the audience had the chance to get copies of the book signed by the author.
We are very proud to be bringing the work of this giant of Francophone literature to the English speaking readers. If you found The African Equation fascinating, then keep an eye on our forthcoming publications as The Dictator’s Last Night published in the Autumn. The novel is set around the last hours of President Gaddafi. The mood is sombre, as you can imagine. In what will be his final night, Gaddafi reflects on an extraordinary life, whilst still raging against the West, his fellow Arab nations and the ingratitude of the Libyan people.