Yasmine Seale: After the Revolution

 Was published first in: https://harpers.org/archive/2018/01/after-the-revolution-2/ Iwas in a classroom in Turkey recently, explaining the word utopia. From u and topos: “no-place,” possibly a pun on eu-topos, “good place.” See also: dystopia. That, too, is a place that doesn’t exist, but— “Oh,” someone interrupted, “it exists.” My students were Syrian refugees, and they were taking no lessons on where the border lay between the real and … Continue reading Yasmine Seale: After the Revolution

Sam Sacks on Using Life

Published first on: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-new-fiction-1513970981 In 2015,shortly after Ahmed Naji published his novel “Using Life” (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 196 pages, $21.95), a sexually explicit dystopian fantasy that imagines the destruction of Cairo under a tsunami of sand, an elderly reader wrote the authorities to complain that the book had caused him … Continue reading Sam Sacks on Using Life

Inside the Strange Saga of a Cairo Novelist Imprisoned for Obscenity

written by Jonathan Guyer and published in RS : http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/cairo-novelist-imprisoned-for-obscenity-in-egypt-tells-story-w468084 On a scorching Saturday morning in July, Ahmed Naji stood in the crowded cage of a Cairo courtroom. The 31-year-old author had been convicted six months earlier of “violating public morality” for publishing a piece of literature. In his novel, Using Life, an irreverent portrayal of youth culture … Continue reading Inside the Strange Saga of a Cairo Novelist Imprisoned for Obscenity

Laughter in the Dark -by Zadie Smith

I first heard the name Ahmed Naji at a PEN dinner last spring. I looked up from my dessert to a large projection of a young Egyptian man, rather handsome, slightly louche-looking, with a Burt Reynolds moustache, wearing a Nehru shirt in a dandyish print and the half smile of someone both amusing and easily … Continue reading Laughter in the Dark -by Zadie Smith

Teresa Pepe: ‘Literature’ is on trial in Egypt

In August 2014, an Egyptian citizen named Hani Saleh Tawfik came across issue 1097 of literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab, and upon reading the pages included in the section Ibda (Creativity), declared that “his heartbeat fluctuated, his blood pressure dropped and he became severely ill.” Tawfik went to court and filed a case against the author of the text, … Continue reading Teresa Pepe: ‘Literature’ is on trial in Egypt