11 Aug Yasmina Jraissati on Selling Arabic Literature Internationally (S3 E8)
By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast
August 11, 2022
Today I’m speaking with Yasmina Jraissati, owner of Raya Agency for Arabic Literature.
Yasmina and I covered many different topics, including her beginnings as a literary agent and how one particular Frankfurt Book Fair played an essential role, the current publishing and bookselling landscape in Lebanon where she resides most of the time, the challenge brought on by piracy in the Arab-speaking publishing market, the position of audiobooks in Arabic, and much more.
Here are some of the questions I asked Yasmina:
- How did your interest in Arabic literature start out?
- Can you talk about a few of your bigger or bestselling titles over the years?
- Do you feel there’s more interest in Arabic literature now than, say, a decade ago?
- If so, was there a successful translation or a publishing trend that has made international editors more receptive to Arabic literature?
- There aren’t many literary agents specializing in representing Arabic voices. How do you explain this?
- Can you tell us a bit about the current Lebanese and/or Arabic book market?
- Is audio a growing format, like it is elsewhere?
- You also work for Storytel. Can you tell us some more about your specific role with them?
Yasmina’s book recommendation:
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Yasmina Jraissati has a PhD in Philosophy and Cognitive sciences (2009). She established RAYA Agency for Arabic Literature, which has been promoting high quality Arabic literature on the international scene for translation and adaptation rights since 2004.
In 2020, Yasmina joined Storytel, the Swedish-based audiobook streaming platform, as a publishing manager for the MENA region.
You can read more about her story in this interview.