LEILA (reverse acronym for ‘Arabic Literature in European Languages’) is founded on a common desire to promote the translation and circulation of the contemporary Arabic-speaking literary scene in Europe. The 2011 Arab revolutions gave rise to an incredible artistic effervescence, driven by the liberation of speech and the fall or questioning of oppressive regimes. This suddenly led Europe to ‘re-see the other’ and ‘listen to the Arab world’. While the performing and visual arts have gradually found their place on the European art scene, the new voices of Arab literature remain little heard. As the first language spoken by the most recent arrivals in Europe, and by more than 500 million speakers worldwide, Arabic remains a ‘rare language’ in the field of translation exchanges. At a time when Arab artistic creativity is booming in Europe, the new, diverse and avant-garde Arabic-speaking literary scene is still only (too) weakly echoed there.
The LEILA project will take place over three years and with three key-actions: to structure a network of actors and organizations in the field of Euro-Arab literature and publishing; to promote in Europe the ‘discoverability’ of the new Arabic-speaking literary scene; and to strengthen the capacities and visibility of the new European generation of Arabic translators.
The project’s activities include professional encounters, network opportunities and residencies for translators. Bozar takes care of the ‘public’ part: at the Centre for Fine Arts, the audience will be able to indulge themselves into the fascinating world of Arabic literature through a series of thought-provoking talks.