The earth shook for Arab society in 2011. We are conscious of one generation giving way to another. The regimes that have been overthrown or are on the defensive were moulded in the 1960s and 1970s. Autocratic governments have tried to control and manipulate culture and, through a combination of censorship and patronage, literature. But, reflecting the politics of the region, a newer generation of writers is emerging and the prescriptions and assumptions of the past have lost relevance.
In the 1960s and 1970s Arab literature was largely self-contained, inward-looking and defensive. The reading public were familiar with writers of their own countries but knew little of work produced elsewhere. All that has changed. In the last thirty or forty years the Arab diasporas in Europe and America have