Originally released in Arabic in 2012, “Arous Amman عروس عمّان“، was deemed controversial for it depiction of a main gay character and support of women’s sexual freedoms and body rights in Jordan. For me, it was a work of activism where I combined stories of people I know, events I witnessed, scenes I developed, and narratives I have discussed for years on this blog.
I was pretty much happy about its success, and overwhelmed with people’s reactions. From women calling me and thanking me for expressing their feelings, women who felt empowered after reading it, other women who endured same situation of different characters and gay men thanking me for helping them accepting their sexuality. It was like talking about the elephant in the room, everyone wanted to talk about “Arous Amman“, and they wanted others to read it. It was our story and it spread fast, getting sold out in few months, a second print release in October by Jabal Amman Publishers, and hitting the top 10 best sellers of Jamalon’s that year.
The book’s success wasn’t only local, and soon after, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp was in a trip to Amman where she picked it up and loved it. She contacted me, asking me for permission to translate and excerpt to submit to Words Without Borders Magazine, which she did. I was happy with her translation and recommended her when I talked to Marshall Moore from Signal8Press who was interested in getting the book translated and published in English.
The English translation of “The Bride of Amman” was released in 2015, and Ruth arranged for me a great launch schedule in the UK. She did a great job in marketing the book when it first came out, and contributed to its exposure and success big time. The book seen success in English as much as it did in its Arabic version, getting a wider audience and being added to the reading list of students in different universities around the world.
Like Ruth, Davide Knecht, read the book few years back and he approached me stating his interest in translating it to Italian. At the time he couldn’t secure an Italian publisher, but he was able to secure a French one – L’asiatheque. I was happy to sign with them, and after two years of work, the book is finally out in French as L’Epouse d’Amman. And like Ruth, Dave has been doing a great job in promoting the book. The publisher as well did a great job in getting the book out in an amazing shape, securing the rights for the a brilliant mural painted by the famous German artist Akut. A huge mural located in Downtown Amman, with a message to promote gender equality. Entitled “We are one“, a perfect match to L’Epouse d’Amman.
Davide connected me with an Italian publisher too who was interested in the book last year but plans were put on hold due to Covid-19 situation. Other translators have approached me over the years to translate the book to German and Spanish, but nothing came out of it yet. I hope the release of the book in French would open the doors to other translations in the coming years.
The book has its way to success, and seems to have a magical appeal around it. I am so grateful for everyone contributed to its success.