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Literature & Criticism

This category contains 22 posts

Interview: Humphrey Davies on Egyptian Writing

Leading Arabic-English literary translator Humphrey Davies, who has lived in Cairo for the past 35 years, paints a picture of contemporary Egypt through words and graphic narratives. Speaking to Sophie Roell, co-editor at FiveBooks and contributor to TheBrowser (which commissioned the interview), Davies explores the political dimension of everday life in pre-2011 Egypt by looking in depth at five recent books by Egyptian writers: Alaa Al-Aswany’s ‘The Yacoubian Building’, Ahmed Alaydi’s ‘On Being Abbas El Abd’, Khaled al-Berry’s ‘Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise’, Khalid Al Khamissi’s ‘Taxi’, and Magdy El Shafee’s ‘Metro’.

Dubai Speed: Inside the Bubble

In the spring of 2007, Michael Schindhelm, the luckless former director of the Berlin Opera Foundation, left the German capital for better shores. As the newly appointed Cultural Director of Dubai’s Culture and Arts Authority, he had high hopes — as well as seemingly unlimited resources. His goal was to construct an exquisite cultural landscape, complete with an opera house and a Museum of World Cultures. Then came the financial crash, and arts and culture were no longer a priority. In his book ‘Dubai Speed’, Schindhelm chronicles his experiences in a city that embodies “not merely a race against time, but an objection to time itself”. While there is much narcissistic navel-gazing in Schindhelm’s book, reviewer Christiane Peitz still finds that, through Schindhelm’s gaze, the scintillating bubble that is Dubai becomes a bizarre reflection of modernity itself.