Egypt's broken justice system
"My approach was to joke about prison"
In 2016, Egyptian author Ahmed Naji was imprisoned for one year, his writing allegedly "harming public morals". His new book "Rotten Evidence" chronicles his journey to and through prison. Darkly humorous, it offers vivid insights into the cruel and mundane world of Egyptian prison. Interview by Hannah El-Hitami
Abu Dhabi Book Fair
Arabic literature, criticism and commerce
These days, at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, the problems of the Arab book market and Arab literature are discussed with astonishing frankness. It has also become an international event – on a scale not seen since the Arab revolutions. Stefan Weidner reports from Abu Dhabi
Diwan and the dialogue of cultures
Nadia Wassef's bookshop memoir – a chronicle of Egypt's upheaval
Egyptian author Nadia Wassef talks about opening the first independent bookstore in her home country; and her latest book in which she celebrates books and booksellers. By Manasi Gopalakrishnan
10 years of revolution
Alaa Al Aswany on Egypt – "The Republic of False Truths"
Ten years ago, Egyptians dreamt of change, they took to the streets against President Mubarak. But their hopes were dashed. A look back and forward with writer Alaa Al Aswany
Culture and innovation in the Arab world
Where are the new Arab icons?
As the photo of Fairouz talking to French President Emmanuel Macron spread around the world, many asked if Arabs today had any contemporary stars of Fairouz's standing. In this essay for Qantara.de, Khaled Al-Khamissi answers this question and asks whether there is a place for up-and-coming stars in a world that is so hostile to creativity and originality
Book review: Mansoura Ez Eldin's novel "Shadow Spectres"
The fantasy of wholeness
Marija M. Bulatovic shares her impressions of "Shadow Spectres" by Mansoura Ez Eldin – recently translated into Serbian by Dragana Dordevic as "Priviđenja iz senke"
Book review: Tawfiq al-Hakim’s "Return of the Spirit"
Awaiting the day of resurrection
In 2019, the long-running Penguin Classics series released its first novel translated from Arabic: Tawfiq al-Hakim’s "Return of the Spirit", conveyed into English by William Hutchins. Al-Hakim wrote his popular novel in Paris in 1927 and published it in Cairo six years later, in 1933. Marcia Lynx Qualey read the book
Previously unpublished work
Naguib Mahfouz' "The Quarter"
Last year, Egyptian critic Mohammed Shoair made an unusual and thrilling announcement: the discovery of never-before-seen stories by Egyptʹs only Nobel laureate for literature, Naguib Mahfouz. Filed in a cardboard box in the possession of Mahfouzʹs daughter, this slender trove of texts has now yielded "The Quarter". By Marcia Lynx Qualey
Book review: Radwa Ashour's "The Journey"
An inheritance of grief and joy
In Radwa Ashour's "The Journey", newly translated by Michelle Hartman, the Egyptian novelist chronicles the four years she spent doing a PhD in African-American Literature at the University of Massachusetts in the 1970s. Marcia Lynx Qualey read the book
Alaa Al Aswanyʹs novel "The Republic of False Truths"
Elias Khoury salutes Al Aswanyʹs courage
Lebanese novelist and critic Elias Khoury pays tribute to Alaa Al Aswanyʹs new novel as the only comprehensive literary chronicle of the January 2011 Egyptian revolution, charting the tragic fate of those who were killed, imprisoned and tortured against a background of the diabolical alliance between the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood
Book review: Waguih Ghali's "Beer in the Snooker Club"
The cruel disillusionment of an entire generation
The novel "Beer in the Snooker Club" by the Egyptian author Waguih Ghali was first published in London in the mid-1960s. It was rediscovered during the Arab Spring. A German translation has recently been published. Sonja Zekri read the book
Germanyʹs Arabic Childrenʹs Literature Festival
The Arabic Childrenʹs Literature Festival held recently in Munich presented a selection of recommended childrenʹs books in Arabic. The catalogue is one of the early outcomes of a three-year project run by the International Youth Library, with the aim of bringing as yet unknown Arabic childrenʹs books to Germany. By Claudia Mende