“The most open, daring, democratic and
attentive magazine of modern Arabic literature” – Anton Shammas
“Not merely a bridge between two cultures but . . . a laboratory that illuminates the styles of modern Arabic writings” – Adonis
"A belief in writing and writers from the Arab world and a desire to keep showcasing that belief keeps Banipal going" – Tamsin Walker, Deutsche Welle (www.dw.com)
"It’s not an exaggeration to say the magazine has become a quintessential bridge between Arab writers and readers in the West, giving unrivaled insight into the region’s tremendously varied cultures." Olivia Snaije, The Daily Star
“A unique voice in the literary world, an exercise in the art of the possible. Long may it remain so.” – Nick March, The National
"Completing 15 years of publishing, Banipal 45 – Writers from Palestine is a gem of literary journalism” – Issa J Boullata
"Banipal has shattered the alienation of Arabic literature from the Anglo-Saxon world! It has succeeded in presenting Arabic literature as it should be presented: far from interests and background influences" – Abdo Wazen
"Banipal valued Arabic literature more than Arabic literature did itself. From the very first, Banipal saw the value and validity of its interaction with other literatures and cultures. There is no doubt that there was love in this venture deep down to its very foundations: love of the literature, love of the language and love of the people" – Abbas Beydoun, As-Safir
“Banipal’s past issues constitute an incomparable archive” – Robert Irwin
* * *
Banipal magazine showcases contemporary Arab authors in English translation, from wherever they are writing and publishing. An independent magazine, founded 19 years ago, in 1998, by Margaret Obank and Iraqi author Samuel Shimon, Banipal's three issues a year present both established and emerging Arab writers through poems, short stories or excerpts of novels, plus the occasional features of LITERARY INFLUENCES, TRAVELLING TALE. The magazine features interviews with authors, publishers and translators, book reviews and photo-reports of literary events. From Banipal 41 – Celebrating Adonis each issue includes a Guest Literature or Guest Writer feature on non-Arab, non-Arabic literature as part of Banipal’s mission to promote intercultural dialogue. Each issue has a main theme, as well as being illustrated throughout with author photographs
From the first issue, the three cornerstones of Banipal were that Arab literature is an essential part of world culture and human civilisation; that dialogue between different cultures needs to be continually deepened; and that the joy and enlightenment to be gained from reading beautiful poetry and imaginative writing is an integral part of human existence. These three points have guided Banipal’s translation and promotion of contemporary Arab literature. Literary translation has such an inspirational power to develop dialogue and interaction between cultures; the moment a reader starts to read a translation dialogue begins. Banipal sees itself as a vehicle for intercultural dialogue and exchange that opens a window for UK and other Western audiences on the realities of Arab culture in all its diversity and vibrancy, enabling fruitful discourse to develop, that will lead to further exchange, mutual respect, new writings, deeper understanding, and Arab literature taking its rightful place in the canon of world literature.
Banipal is a magazine for lovers of literature, of world literature, to encourage a wider readership of Arab writers and poets for their own sake, and for both the particularity and the universality of their voices. Banipal publishes Arab writers and poets who write in French, English or German as well as the main Arabic language, presenting the reality of literature from the Arab world and naming it ‘Arab’ rather than ‘Arabic’ literature (which excludes literature by Arab authors not written in Arabic – and consequently many great Arab writers).
Banipal is distributed in the UK and the rest of Europe by Central Books (www.centralbooks.com). Copies of the magazine can be bought direct from Banipal, from our distributors, who include Inpress Books, or can be ordered from bookshops in the UK and the rest of Europe.
Banipal takes its name from Ashurbanipal, last great king of Assyria and patron of the arts, whose outstanding achievement was to assemble in Nineveh, from all over his empire, the first systematically organised library in the ancient Middle East. The thousands of clay tablets of Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian writings included the famous Mesopotamian epics of the Creation, the Flood, and Gilgamesh, many folk tales, fables, proverbs, prayers and omen texts.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
About Banipal Publishing
Banipal Publishing promotes and celebrates publication of contemporary Arab authors in original English or in English translation, and encourages, in the UK and beyond, readership of Arab writers and poets for both the particularity and the universality of their voices. Founded in 1998, Banipal’s three cornerstones are that Arab literature is an essential part of world culture and human civilisation; that dialogue between different cultures needs to be continually deepened; and that the joy and enlightenment to be gained from reading beautiful poetry and imaginative writing is an integral part of human existence. These three tenets, which guide Banipal’s decisions and standards, are continuously strengthened by the inspirational power of literary translation to open dialogue and understanding between cultures – the moment a reader starts to read a translation new dialogue begins.
Banipal Publishing is the publisher of Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature (ISSN 1461-5361) three times a year. It also publishes works of poetry and fiction by Arab authors.
The encyclopedia of Arabic literature that is amassed in Banipal is a staggering accomplishment.
An invaluable introduction for the English reader to the varied and unique literatures of the Middle East and the Maghreb which can be found in no other English-language literary magazine.
I relish each copy I get – beautiful presentation as well as superbly written – who could ask for more?
Mary Selden Evans, Syracuse University Press
The best contemporary Arabic magazine . . . nothing is lost in translation.
Banipal is the magazine of the modern creative Arab adventure. It is today our purest voice in a world that is increasingly moving towards ruin.
Banipal provides an alternative and imperative narrative that reflects the honest spirit of Arab culture
“Very important magazine. I read it regularly.”
The late Edward W. Said, in 2000
“Banipal is providing a window on the Arabic-speaking world that is unique and extremely valuable.”
Former International Secretary, International Pen, in 1999
"Banipal is one of those periodicals you can't wait to get your hands on. A rich digest of modern Arabic literature, each issue explores fresh literary themes in and around the Arab world, focusing each issue on writers and novelists from one particular country. . . . Once again . . . Banipal provides all its promise, as a window into the Arab soul and conscience."
Staff Writer, The Star newspaper, Amman, Jordan, in 2001
Remembering Denys Johnson-Davies[read more]
New Banipal issue
A Journey in Iraqi Fiction
Najwa Binshatwin, the 2018 Banipal Visiting Writer Fellow[read more]
Ahmed Saadawi salutes Banipal magazine
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award Winners for 2017-2018[read more]
Ibrahim Nasrallah wins 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction[read more]
[read all news stories]