Classic work of Arab literature getting big screen treatment thanks to Vancouver animation studio: CBC News

A Vancouver animation studio is bringing one of the best-known works of modern Arab literature to life in a new film showing at the Vancity Theatre.

The Prophet was written by Khalil Gibran in 1923. It’s a book of prose about life and the human condition and has been translated into 40 languages and sold more than nine million copies.

“It’s fantastic, we’re all really excited about it,” said Chris Browne, studio computer graphics supervisor for Bardel Entertainment, the company behind the film.

Ask someone about the history of French literature and they might recite a couple of Voltaire quotes before extolling the virtues of Victor Hugo and challenging the ideas of Camus.

Ask about German literature and they will perhaps tell you about the Brothers Grimm before mourning the late, great Günter Grass.

Ask about Arabic literature, however, and, well, they’ve probably heard of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and … that’s often as far as their experience goes.

It can feel, to those in and from the West, that Arabic literature and literary tradition is a something we would never have the time to catch up with. From romantic poets, religious texts and revolutionary philosophers, there’s simply too much reading to get through – we could never get to a point where we might understand the references and canon well enough to enjoy the modern output.

The Jerusalem International Writers Fest was held mid-May, just two weeks before the Palestine Festival of Literature was staged all across historic Palestine. At the Jerusalem festival, there was no apparent recognition of Arabic literature, despite the city’s large (~34%) Arab population. How can that be? asks blogger “Arablit”: Your Middle East

At the opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Writers Festival, author Dror Mishani decried this lack:

More and more, Hebrew literature is being created from itself, within itself, contrary to the way that it has been created over the centuries – with too little dialogue with foreign literatures – and even turning its back to languages and literatures around and inside it.