‘But we don't read, Professor!’ Translation, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, and building a ‘vibrant literary culture’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) is Qatar's first and only publishing house, established with the stated aim of developing a vibrant literary culture in the country. Producing books in Arabic and English, a large proportion of which are translations, this paper is a preliminary, localised study of BQFP as a translating institution that not only has its own remit, but, as part of Qatar Foundation, is firmly ensconced within the broader societal narrative of transformation elaborated by Qatar's government. Widely circulated and reiterated in the public sphere, this narrative is also articulated in specific documents, including the Qatar National Vision 2030 and its ‘action plan’, the Qatar National Development Strategy (QNDS) 2011–2016. Drawing on a collocational analysis of the word ‘culture’ in the QNDS, a quantitative and qualitative initial analysis of BQFP book titles, and a brief foray into the first Qatari novel, including an interview with the Qatari author, this paper aims to initiate investigation into the relationships between official transformation narratives of culture and BQFP narratives as reflected in the institution's output of cultural products. It finds that, while areas of overlap predominate, there are also areas of misalignment, suggesting that there also exist spaces for alternative narratives and interpretations of ‘culture’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-533
Number of pages23
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2014



  • culture
  • institutional translation
  • literature
  • narrative
  • publishing
  • Qatar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this