No Hebrew: Egyptian novelist denies granting permission for translation
Renowned Egyptian novelist Alaa al-Aswany has denied giving permission to an Israeli publisher to publish a Hebrew version of his internationally acclaimed novel The Yacoubian Building.
"[Aswany] has not - at any time - signed a contract with any Israeli publisher to publish his works," the author's official Twitter account said on Thursday.
Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee posted the cover of the new Hebrew edition of the novel on his official Facebook page on Wednesday, with a caption announcing its translation by Bruria Horowitz and publication by Tobi publishing house in Israel.
However, this is not the first time an Israeli publisher has released works by the best-selling author, reportedly without his permission.
|Adraee posted the cover of the new Hebrew edition
of the novel on his official Facebook page [Facebook]
In 2010, Aswany lashed out at an unauthorised Hebrew translation of the same novel, describing it as intellectual "theft".
"The fact is someone's intellectual property has been stolen and that this happened in Israel, a country that claims to be democratic," he told The Associated Press at the time.
"This is a violation and they are trying to cover it up and justify the theft."
Aswany, a dentist-turned novelist, said he would sue the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information, which acknowledged it translated the novel against his will on the grounds of "expanding cultural awareness".
The center's founder, Gershon Baskin, justified Aswany's rejection of several requests to translate the novel into Hebrew by the author's stance against cultural normalisation with Israel.
This was confirmed by Aswany, who noted that his position on normalisation conforms to the policies of the writers and journalists' unions, which suspend membership of those interacting with Israel.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. However, the deal has been unpopular with many Egyptians, who have long called for it to be rescinded.
First published in Arabic in 2002, The Yacoubian Building remains Aswany's most well-known work. It was made into a film in 2006 and a TV series in 2007.
Aswany's books have been translated into English, French, Spanish and German, among other languages.