Mina Nagy: Interview with Promising Young Writer

Roger Ballen, from "Shadow Chamber". Source: lannassignment2.wordpress.com/

Roger Ballen, from “Shadow Chamber”. Source: lannassignment2.wordpress.com

Literary Magazine Interviewer: First question. Do you see yourself as a “promising young writer”?

Promising Young Writer: That depends. Do you mean “promising” or “young”? You can easily apply both to me, or dismiss them. It’s a matter of perspective.

LMI: Let’s see, then. How old are you and what have you written that’s promising?

PYW: Well, I’m 28. So far I’ve written two books of poetry and one of short stories. I don’t like to evaluate my own work. It depresses me. And you can’t be objective about it. But it’s easy to say that I like only two poems in my first book, the rest belonging to the realm of lame beginnings. Maybe I will have a view of my two later books after some time. I guess it takes time to see your own writings as external objects so you can evaluate them as you evaluate other things. Actually, I admire and hate my own work with equal force, and that applies to everything related to myself. I also finished my first novel, the first part of a trilogy. I’m in the process of publishing it now.

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The Book of the Sultan’s Seal

The Book of the Sultan’s Seal: Synopsis

Kitab at-Tughra or The Book of the Sultan’s Seal, set over three weeks in the spring of 2007 and completed at the start of 2010, was published less than a fortnight after the then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, following mass protests, on February 11, 2011, ceding power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of which he was technically in charge.

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Mohab Nasr: Please, God, give us books to read

EGYPT. Alexandria. On the ledge of San Stephano beach. 1993.

Harry Gruyaert, Alexandria. On the ledge of San Stephano beach, 1993. Source: magnumphotos.com

Somehow

I was a teacher;

somehow

I considered that natural.

For this reason I began to bow

to words I did not say;

and to communicate my respects to my children.

I tried to make them understand that it was absolutely necessary

for someone to read,

to review with his parents—

while he hurls his shoe under the bed—

how exhausting and beautiful respect is:

that they have no future without words.

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