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The Atlas is proud to be partnering with the Hay Festival's Beirut39 contest, celebrating Beirut's year as UNESCO World Book Capital, to find the hottest authors under 40 of Arabic origin. Nominations are open until August 24th, 2009.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reading Egypt

The Guardian's Book Blog are travelling around the world via literature, and it's Egypt's turn. Post your suggestions and thoughts here. You can add new discoveries to the Atlas here.

[Updated 2 Dec]

the tanjara posts about the Guardian's literary tourism (aren't we loving the photo of the very contemporary Pyramids?) with some pertinent observations and questions about how the Guardian's tour functions:
So far, the blog entry on Egypt has attracted only 17 comments (some of which weren't on Egyptian literature, but suggested a next stop on the 'tour'), much fewer than the 45 for Portugal, the previous stop, Nigeria (42), Australia (116 comments), Ireland (213). Of course it's not really appropiate to compare interest, as indicated by comments, in relatively newly available Egyptian fiction with that in literature from Anglophone countries.
Egypt was chosen as a destination by readers of the blog, but there was a miniscule number of votes. It got 2 votes, tied with the same number for a combined destination of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. As Egypt had been shortlisted a few times previously it was the final choice. Surely Moroccan literature (including poetry) is 'present' enough to merit inclusion in its own right rather than only as part of a general Maghreb entry. Or, if one insists on a general North African entry, why not expand to include Libya

So there's lots of space to make your opinion heard (unusual on a Guardian blog!) and put the names of classics and exciting new novels out there... Great to see Bahaa Taher getting attention alongside Naguib Mahfouz, and also Khalid al-Khamissy.

If you're lucky enough to be in Cairo, Kamal Rohaym is reading from his novel "Ayam al-shataat" on Wednesday 8th December at the last Sphinx Agency salon of the year. Rohaym won a prize for the first novel, "Quloub munhaka" (The Muslim Jew), which is being translating into German at the moment. The next big thing?!

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