Home 5 News 5 American-Palestinian publisher uses books to break cultural barriers

American-Palestinian publisher uses books to break cultural barriers

by | Nov 17, 2021 | News

In the late 1970s, Palestinian American Michel Moushabeck came to the United States to study history at New York University, escaping from war-torn Beirut and the Lebanese Civil War.

But Moushabeck, the founder and publisher of Interlink Publishing in Northampton (Massachusetts), says he was also shocked to find out how little most people knew about the land he’d come from.

Altering his plans, Moushabeck decided to start an independent publishing company that showcases work from writers from around the world, ideally generating greater global understanding and breaking down national and cultural boundaries.

Interlink Publishing began as a business under modest circumstances in Moushabeck’s former apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Today Interlink, with a staff of 10, is marking its 35th anniversary, and the business has also weathered the bleak economic tides of the pandemic by rebooting its business model and expanding its online presence.

With a line of award-winning cookbooks focused on international cuisine, Interlink publishes 50 books a year, including fiction from Middle Eastern, African and Latin American writers, as well as children’s books, travel literature and guides, history and current affairs, art, and more. Interlink also has plans to expand its production in the future.

Interlink has also weathered pushback for some of its books, notably for political titles critical of U.S. foreign policy and capitalism, and those that focus on Palestinian rights in their long-running struggle with Israel.

Most Interlink titles are sold in the U.S., but a good number of them are translated into other languages and sold overseas. Cookbooks are the “bread and butter” of the business, Moushabeck notes, as the company has focused on introducing American customers in particular to international cuisine and the cultures those recipes come from.

A book on Ethiopian cooking won the 2020 James Beard Foundation Award, a noted prize in the field, and other Interlink cookbooks have won major awards and favorable reviews in places such as the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.

“Introducing American readers to leading African, Arab and Latin American writers, getting them to take a chance on a new novelist … presenting them with books that inform, delight and entertain — as well as ones that counteract negative portrayals, hatred and fear of the unknown — have been key motivating forces in my journey,” he said.

Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette

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