Twilight is a Hit in the Middle East

Posted on April 2, 2009

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books have been translated into Arabic and they look to be a hit in the Middle East. The Harry Potter books helped pave the way for young adult series to be widely read by teens and adults, something that is alien to the middle eastern culture. Twilight is resonating with readers.

The names Edward and Bella are almost as famous around the world as those of Harry and Hermione. But in Arabic-speaking countries, the heroes of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight quartet might yet eclipse those of Rowling's mega-selling series.

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[Foreign rights and sales manager of the Arab Cultural Center Haissam] Fadel said, when Rowling's books were translated into Arabic by Egyptian publisher Nahdet Misr, it helped to open a new market of readers—those now willing to give YA a try.

Fadel's company, which has divisions in Casablanca and Beirut, took a chance and bought Arabic-language rights to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight quartet at last year's Frankfurt Book Fair. "At the time, the books were not so well-known in the Arabic world," he said, "but the movie changed all that." When the books reach bookstores this May, images from the film will be used on the promotional posters.

Fadel said the company wanted to capitalize on the interest generated by the film, and felt it was important to get the books translated as quickly as possible. "It was a huge commitment and hugely expensive, but we used four different translators—one on each book," he said. "Of course, we would have liked to have just used one translator, but we observed that when customers went into a bookstore to buy Twilight they tended to buy multiple volumes, so we wanted to have them on offer all at once."

Twilight is G-rated so that certainly helped the book pass the censors. And the film is just as mild. The second film, New Moon, is in production in Vancouver.


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