Banipal is a great literary magazine about Arab writers, from poets to novelists. Founded in 1998, Banipal is an independent source for information on contemporary literature from all over the Arab world in English translation. The three issues a year present established and new Arab authors and poets in English for the first time through poems, short stories or excerpts from novels, and include author interviews, profiles and book reviews. Each issue is well illustrated with author photographs with the full colour covers featuring prominent Arab artists.

From the first issue, the three cornerstones of Banipal were that Arab literature is an essential part of world culture and human civilisation; that dialogue between different cultures needs to be continually deepened; and that the joy and enlightenment to be gained from reading beautiful poetry and imaginative writing is an integral part of human existence. These three points have guided Banipal’s translation and promotion of contemporary Arab literature. Literary translation has such an inspirational power to develop dialogue and interaction between cultures; the moment a reader starts to read a translation dialogue begins.

Banipal is a magazine for lovers of literature, of world literature, to encourage a wider readership of Arab writers and poets for their own sake, and for both the particularity and the universality of their voices. Banipal publishes Arab writers and poets who write in French, English or German as well as the main Arabic language, presenting the reality of literature from the Arab world and naming it ‘Arab’ rather than ‘Arabic’ literature (which excludes literature by Arab authors not written in Arabic – and consequently many great Arab writers).

Banipal is distributed in the UK and the rest of Europe by Central Books ( Copies of the magazine can be bought direct from Banipal, online from, or can be ordered from bookshops in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Banipal takes its name from Ashurbanipal, last great king of Assyria and patron of the arts, whose outstanding achievement was to assemble in Nineveh, from all over his empire, the first systematically organised library in the ancient Middle East. The thousands of clay tablets of Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian writings included the famous Mesopotamian epics of the Creation, the Flood, and Gilgamesh, many folk tales, fables, proverbs, prayers and omen texts.

Publisher / Editor
Margaret Obank

Deputy Editor
Samuel Shimon

Tel: +44 (0)20 7832 1350
Fax: +44 (0)20 8568 8509
editorial email:
general inquiries:

ISSN: 1461-5363

An invaluable introduction for the English reader to the varied and unique literatures of the Middle East and the Maghreb which can be found in no other English-language literary magazine.
Marilyn Hacker

I relish each copy I get – beautiful presentation as well as superbly written – who could ask for more?
Mary Selden Evans, Syracuse University Press

The best contemporary Arabic magazine . . . nothing is lost in translation.
Anton Shammas

Without Banipal I would be much less well-read. Its past issues constitute an incomparable archive.
Robert Irwin

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