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 A corrupt police officer trawls the streets of Cairo on the most important assignment of his career: the answer to the truth of all existence…

A young journalist struggles over the obituary of a nightclub dancer…

A man slowly loses his mind in one of the city’s new desert developments..

There is a saying that, whoever you are, if you come to Cairo you will find a hundred people just like you. For over a thousand years, the city on the banks of the Nile has welcomed travellers from around the world. But in recent years Cairo has also been a stage for expressions of short-lived hope, political disappointments and a violent repression that can barely be written about. These ten short stories showcase some of the most exciting, emerging voices in Egypt, guiding us through one of the world’s largest and most historic cities as it is today – from its slums to its villas, its bars and its balconies, through its infamous traffic. Appearing in English for the first time, these stories evoke the sadness and loss of the modern city, as well as its humour and beauty. 

Translated by Adam Talib, Raphael Cohen, Basma Ghalayini, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Raph Cormack, Andrew Leber, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, Elisabeth Jaquette, Kareem James Abu-Zeid & Yasmine Seale.

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About the author

Hatem Hafez (b. 1974) is a writer, academic, translator and journalist. He has written 8 plays and one novel, Because Things Happen (2009). The story featured here is from his first collection of short stories, Biscuit and Molasses. His second collection of short stories was published in 2017. Hafez has won several dramatic prizes, including the Best Play at the Festival of Arabic Theatre in 1996 for the play The Final Act and the Fawzi Fahmy Prize for Drama from Cairo University in 2009.

Hend Ja‘far (b. 1985) is a writer and academic from Ismailiyya. She currently works in the Manuscripts department at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. This story is from her first collection published in 2015 by Merit, which shared the second place in the Sawiris Prize (Short Stories by Young Writers section).

Hassan Abdel Mawgoud (b. 1976) is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. He has published two novels and two short story collections. His novel Cat’s Eye won a Sawiris Cultural Prize in 2005 and has been translated into German. His work of non-fiction, Stories of the Monks of Wadi Natrun, won an Egyptian cultural journalism prize in 2003.

Ahmed Naji (b. 1985) is a writer and journalist who was given PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award in 2016. His first novel, Rogers, was published in 2007 and his second novel, Use of Life, was published in 2014. Nagi was arrested after an excerpt from his novel was published in Akhbar al-Adab. He was sentenced to two years in jail for violating public morality. The novel, Use of Life, has been translated into Italian and English. The story in this collection comes from his first collection of short stories, published in 2016 by Merit.

Nahla Karam’s (b. 1989) first short story collection, To Hang in the Air, was published in 2013. Her story, ‘Tale from the Back Lines’ was one of the winning stories in a Goethe Centre workshop and she won a trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Her novel, On Freud’s Couch was shortlisted for the Sawiris Prize in 2015. The story featured here comes from her latest collection, published in 2017.

Nael Eltoukhy (b. 1978) is a writer, journalist and translator. He has published one collection of short stories and four novels. His novel, Women of Karentina, was translated into English and published by the American University in Cairo Press in 2014. His Arabic translation of the Hebrew book Rachel and Ezezkiel by Almog Behar was published in 2016. He also works as a journalist at the independent news site Mada Masr.

Eman Abdelrahim (b. 1983) began writing on literary blogs. In 2012 she wrote the script for the Egyptian animated series People from the Dragon’s Eye. This story comes from her first collection, published in 2013. In 2015 she won a Sawiris Cultural Prize for the book.

Mohamed Kheir (b.1978) is a poet and prose writer. He has published two collections of poems in Colloquial Egyptian Arabic and one in Classical Arabic. He also published his first short story collection in 2008 and his first novel in 2013. The featured story comes from his second collection of short stories, Blink of an Eye, first published in 2014.

Areej Gamal is a young writer and film critic. She published her first collection of short stories, One Table for Love, in 2014. The story feature comes from her second collection, Churches Don’t Fall in War, published in 2017.

Mohamed Salah al-Azab (b. 1981) was chosen as part of the prestigious Beirut 39 group of young Arab writers in 2009. He has written four novels and two short story collections. He has also written scripts for two Egyptian films. In 2002 he won the Kuwaiti Suad al-Sabah Prize for the novel in 2002 and Egyptian state cultural prizes in 1999 and 2004. The featured story comes from his latest collection, published in 2016. 

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Additional Information

Comma Press
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Published on
May 16, 2019
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Fiction / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Fiction / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Literary Collections / General
Travel / Middle East / Egypt
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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