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The Make Books Travel Podcast

42 EpisodesProduced by Marleen SeegersWebsite

The Make Books Travel podcast offers a behind-the-scenes look at the international publishing scene. Literary agent Marleen Seegers interviews the industry's key players, who all have one thing in common: they make books travel, for instance from one language to another, from manuscript to published… read more


S2 E4: Olivia Snaije Discusses the Arab-Speaking Publishing World

Today’s guest is Paris-based journalist, author, translator and editor Olivia Snaije. For those of you who read the international publishing industry news, Olivia’s name probably sounds familiar as she is a contributing editor to Publishing Perspectives.

Besides Publishing Perspectives, she has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers including The Guardian and the New York Times

One of the subjects she has written a lot about is the publishing and book industry of the Middle East and the Arabic-speaking world in general, which is also the central topic of our interview.

Show Notes

  • Getting to know Arabic literature and its publishing industry

Sources in English:


Banipal magazine

Words without Borders

RAYA literary agency

International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Literature Across Frontiers

Arab Voices catalogue 2020

International Alliance for Independent Publishers

French sources:

Actes Sud/Sindbad

Maghreb Orient des Livres book festival

Editions Barzakh (Algeria)

En Toutes Lettres (Morocco)

Editions Elyzad (site under construction)

Takam Tikou (children’s books)

Italian source:


  • Some of Olivia's favorite books this year

- The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld translated by Michele Hutchinson (Faber & Faber, 2020-UK edition; Graywolf, 2020-US edition)

- The Eighth Life, by Nino Haratischwili translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (Scribe US&UK, 2020)

- Minor Detail by Adania Shibli translated by Elisabeth Jacquette (New Directions, 2020-US edition; Fitzcarraldo, 2020-UK edition)

  • About Olivia

Olivia Snaije is a journalist and editor based in Paris. She is a contributing editor to Publishing Perspectives, and has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers including The Guardian, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar Art, and CNN, and was a staff member at both Vanity Fair and CBC/Radio Canada in New York. She is a former commissioning editor at Saqi Books as well as a former executive editor of Alef, a London-based cultural magazine about the Middle East. She translated Lamia Ziadé’s Bye Bye Babylon (Random House) in 2011, she has written several books on Paris published by Dorling Kindersley and Flammarion. Editions Textuel (France) and Saqi Books (London) published Keep Your Eye on the Wall: Palestinian Landscapes, which she co-edited, in 2013.

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