'Beirut39' is a Hay Festival project which aims to select and celebrate 39 of the best young Arab writers as a centrepiece of the Beirut World Capital festivities in April 2010. Following the successful launch of 'Bogota 39', which identified many of the most interesting upcoming Latin American talents, including Wendy Guerra, Junot Diaz (Pulitzer Prize), Santiago Roncagliolo and Juan Gabriel Vasquez (short-listed for the IFFP), 'Beirut 39' will bring to worldwide attention the best work from the Arab world. The judges will select from more than 300 submissions and the writers' names will be unveiled in September 2009. The book will be published in English throughout the world (except the Arab world) by Bloomsbury, and in Arabic throughout the world and in English in the Arab World by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing.
Samuel Shimon is the editor of Banipal, the highly respected magazine of new Arab writing in English translation. Amin Maalouf is the author of many works of fiction, including Leo the African and Balthasar's Odyssey, and non-fiction, including The Crusades Through Arab Eyes and Origins: a Memoir.