European Literature Today and 1001 Books for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Literature Across Frontiers started 2008, the European Union’s Year of Intercultural Dialogue, with two projects of literary exchange between Europe and the Arab world. European Literature Today is a series of literary events which presents authors from different European countries to audiences in Cairo and Alexandria.

Meanwhile 1001 Books for Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a collection, of representative literary works from all around Europe, donated to Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt’s ambitious and extensive library.Bibliotheca Alexandrina was opened in 2001 as a modern successor to the ancient centre of learning that once held texts from several ancient civilisations. The aim of the new library is to be a “centre of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge, a place of dialogue, learning and understanding between cultures and peoples.” Literature Across Frontiers coordinated the donation of a representative collection of contemporary European writing to highlight the linguistic and literary diversity of Europe. Books from all corners of the European Union were included in the collection which comprised fiction, poetry, non-fiction, biography and memoir, as well as anthologies. These books, as yet not translated into Arabic, will be made available to readers and researchers in translation into English, French and German.

The project opened with a gala evening of literature and music held in the Alexandria Library in January 2008 and was followed by more events in the European Literature Today series.

This project is organised in partnership with the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, the Biblioteca Alexandrina and the European partners of Literature Across Frontiers.