It’s time we shed some light on Egyptian writers who were able to publish their first book before tuning 30. That’s a great accomplishment for many reasons; the fact that they defeated procrastination in such a way being one of them. Many of us always say “I want to write a book”, but most of us never get to it or at least not during our 20s.
Coucla Refaat – Dance Of Life
With the rise of photography books’ popularity, make sure to pick up Coucla’s Dance of Life, which she had published before she hits 30. The book that takes you on a trip around Thailand through young Egyptian eyes. Its shows you the true authentic beauty of the country, the colorful emotional photos are really something to see.
Ghada Abd El Aal – ‘Ayza Atgawez
Her bad luck with marriage proposals brought Ghada international fame! Her book is a witty, sarcastic and above all, real. It sheds light on the pressure on young women to get married in Egypt; from relatives butting in, to attempts at arranged marriages “gawaz salonat”. ’Ayza Atgawez was transalted into many languages and was adapted into a very successful TV series. Digging up real experiences from her own life and her friends’ is what inspired Ghada to write this book. The hilarious attempts to marry off the protagonist were turned into a series starring Hend Sabry and an array of guest stars playing her prospect grooms.
Rehab Bassam – Orz Belaban Le Shakhseen
This is a great example of a blogger’s ability to transfer their talents to print. The book is made up of 34 short stories and was published by ‘Dar El Sherouk’. Orz Belaban Le Shakhseen is a journal-like, stream of conscience book where Rehab speaks random, funny, heart-warming thoughts. The light-hearted, delicately funny book is relatable and a joy to read.
Mariam Elias – Thawret Ellool
A unique exploration of artists born in the 80’s. Thawret ellol looks at how they try to define themselves with their art and how technology effected them. The book is divided into two sections, the first is an overview of the artists and the second is made up of five “chat rooms”, which include the interviews with the artists. It’s an intriguing fresh take on young artists.
Ahmed Morad – Vertigo
Even though this book was Ahmed Morad’s first book, it was very successful and became an instant hit, which led him to his other – even more popular – books. Vertigo follows a photographer who witnesses his friend being murdered in a pub in Cairo. Mourad doesn’t tread lightly in the thriller genre, but barges in, swooping the reader along with him. The book’s success was catapulted when it was adapted into a series starring Hend Sabry, Salwa Khattab, Sayed Ragab, Dhafer L’Abidine, and many other stars and directed by Othman Abu Laban.
Amr Salama – A Kiosk Guy: A Journey in Search of the Handlebars
Amr Salama is a lot of things; he’s a writer, film director and blogger. His first book talks, with plenty of his ever so lovable humor, about the 80’s generation. He sheds light on those of us wo lived through the rise of technology and the internet, and went through that shift, and how that effected or led to the Jan25 revolution.
Mansoura Ez-ElDin – Maryam’s Maze
Maryam’s Maze is a fiction novel that follows its title character. In Maryam’s Maze, the protagonist is struggling through her life in a dream-like state where her family and friends seem to have forgotten her existence. The book touches upon many interesting topics from politics to the supernatural. Maryam’s life, although abstractly portrayed, will have the reader completely invested from start to finish, a real page turner.
Muhammed Aladdin – The Gospel According to Adam
With this novel, Muhammed broke the conventional novel format, writing the entire novel in a stream of consciousness style where all the characters speak in the first person. His psychedelic narration explored the idea of unattainable women and sex in general in the first half, while in the second it weaved religious stories into the novel. An interesting read that bravely shatters taboos, both societal and literary.
Miral Al Tahawy – The Tent
Going back to her Bedouin origins, ‘The Tent’ is narrated by a Bedouin girl “Fatima” showing the constrictions she, and Bedouin women in general, face, and how one patriarchy figure has all the power and control. Following oppressed women and their striving for freedom and power shows the clash between Bedouin life and the modern world. The book is a passionate, disturbing and emotional work of art.
Mariam Abd El Gabr – Raghba fi El Nesyan
This book is made up of 10 independent novellas. Each protagonist is radically different from the others; from different social class, background and interests. What attaches all the characters is their desire for oblivion, to forget a painful past.
- Amy Mowafi – Fe Mail
This was originally published as a set of articles in Enigma Magazine. The book can be considered Egypt’s answer to Sex and the City, discussing the “want to have it all” situation most women face nowadays. The witty, tongue-in-cheek humor is to die for and the stories are as fun to read as they are funny.
You can find these books in the following book stores: