Ahmed Naji

“A gentle breeze blows.  Condensation collects on the green bottles of beer.  A moist handshake of appreciation between the beer and its connoisseur. For a few moments, I feel something resembling happiness.”

Using Life

A writer/ Journalist/ Art critic/ Official criminal/ .. and other stuff.

portrait by Hashem L Kelesh

Author of three novels, Rogers (2007), Using Life (2014), And Tigers to my Room (2020), and another non-fiction book (Rotten Evidence: Reading and writing in prison) as well as numerous blogs and other articles. His work has been translated into different languages including English, Italian, Spanish, and others

In 2016 Ahmed was sentenced for 2 years in prison after a reader complained that an excerpt published in a literary journal harmed public morality. His imprisonment marks the first time in modern Egypt that an author has been jailed for a work of literature. Writers and literary organizations around the world rallied to support Naji, and he was released in December 2016. His original conviction was overturned in May 2017.

Through his carers he won several prizes including; Dubai Press Club Arab Journalism Award, United Arab Emirates, 2012 for best culture article, PEN/Barbey Freedom To Write Award, USA, 2016.

The Open Eye Award, Germany, 2016. AFAC grants, 2018. His novel Using Life was also Shortlisted at Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards 2018 Among the best Tales of a Fantastic Future. And was shortlisted at The Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, 2019

He is now fellow at Black Mountain  Institute, Living in Las Vegas, where he lives with his small family

You can surf here and read more of his articles, or Fiction short stories, or read more about him and his work which was featured in The guardian, NYtimes, Rolling Stone… and money other publications

What People Say

Naji is one voice among a new generation of writers playing with form, genre and politics. “He always tries a [new] idea and then very quickly turns it on its head,”


Naji’s prose explicitly confronts what happens when one’s fundamentally unserious, oversexed youth dovetails with an authoritarian, utterly self-serious regime that is in the process of tearing itself apart. It’s very bad historical luck—of the kind I’ve never suffered. It’s monstrous. It’s ludicrous

Zadi Smith

Alan Moore meets Nagib Mahfouz in this exuberant, subversive novel by Egyptian writer Naji.

Kirkus Riview

Books in English

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