Saturday, February 16, 2008

Our February Author: Alaa Al Aswany

Some links for Alaa al Aswany author of our February selection, The Yacoubian Building:

The controversy surrounding the book and movie are nearly as interesting as the book itself and in any case the author is very forthcoming with his political views. This National Geographic interview is an excellent place to start. NPR has a good profile about the book and film as does the Guardian,
I work less but I would never give [dentistry] up because my clinic is my window. I open the window to see people and talk to them and I believe this is very important from the human aspect and the professional aspect as a writer. Patients tell me about their lives, I give them my time, so it's not just about the dental issues. I do care about people and it's very dangerous for a writer to shut himself away.'
I don't know, the dentist's chair isn't usually a place for idle chitchat for me, even if it were physically possible! But maybe a bit of friendly gossip before the drill makes the visit a bit more pleasant.

There's a little more on the controversy surrounding the book at Daily News Egypt and also in this YouTube. PEN American Center also has audio from some events the author participated in (this is how I learned of the book).

Amnesty country-specialist Geoffrey Mock keeps a blog, Human Rights in Egypt, and although it hasn't been updated in a few months its a good place to go for a little insight and useful links including some to Egyptian human rights bloggers.
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