New Lucrative Chapter
As demand for Chinese literature grows, cooperation with foreign publishers flourishes
over the last few years, Abdelkader Retnani, Director of La Croisée des Chemins Publishing House in Morocco, has become a regular participant of the Beijing International Book Fair, an annual event that takes place in late August in China’s capital.
But this year’s event was special for him, because Morocco was celebrated as the guest of honor - the first African country to have this privilege since the creation of the fair in 1986. In addition, the book La Chine et nous: Répondre au second dépassement (China and Us: Responding to the Second Overtaking), already published and distributed in French and Arabic by its publishing house, was purchased for translation and distribution in China.
“Books about China are very popular in Morocco, because Moroccans are very interested in China,” Retnani told Chinafrica.
Retnani first took part in the Beijing International Book Fair in 2014. Since then, his publishing house has conducted many exchanges with its Chinese counterparts. Flames and Words, a poetry book translated from Chinese into Arabic by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, was originally distributed by his publishing house in Morocco, where it has met with great success.
The 2,000 copies of the first print of La Chine et nous: Répondre au second dépassement sold out quickly in Morocco, and the second print is now available.
“I wanted to conclude agreements [with Chinese partners] so that we can better promote China’s rich history and so that our Moroccan readers can better appreciate it,” he said.
Retnani is not alone in trying to cooperate with Chinese publishing houses. At this year’s Beijing International Book Fair, which took place on August 22-26, a total of 5,678 copyright agreements were concluded between China and foreign countries, an annual increase of 7.9 percent. Of these, 3,610 were export and partnership
A Chinese visitor reads a book at the Beijing International Book Fair on August 22