An Egyptian Woman’s Blog-to-book Success (That Has Nothing to Do With Marriage, Love, or Men)

There have been many blogger-to-novelist leaps in Egypt (Ahmed Naji, Rehab Bassem, Ghada Mahmoud). The most famous is Ghada Abdel Aal, whose blog-to-book, Ayza Atgowaz, (I Want to Get Married) was made into a TV serial this Ramadan, and has been translated into both English (out next month from U of Texas Press) and Italian.

But Ingi Amr, a blogger whose first book is titled To Each Her Own, didn’t follow in Abdel Aal’s famous footsteps.

Amr’s book, published by new publishing  house Saray, is about six young working women, all of whom are members of what Amr calls “the disappearing middle-class.” According to a review in Cairo 360: the stories are not about relationships, but about “mundane and typically Egyptian experiences in different aspects of life, such as work, travelling abroad, cooking and even parking in Tahrir Square.”

Cairo 360 added that the book is not exactly a work of art, but a light and optimistic read.

But regardless of its artistic status, apparently, the book—written in English—is selling well. According to Daily News Egypt:

In its first month of publication “To Each Her Own” has become Shorouk bookstores’ No. 2 bestseller, beaten to the top spot only by the international teenage-vampire phenomena “Twilight.”

To Each Her Own is the first book of publishing house Saray, which is now apparently swamped with manuscripts. And, in the vein of optimism, Sarah Abou Bakr, head of Saray, had this cheering thing to say to Daily News Egypt about publishing in Cairo:

The most important thing is that you believe in the writer and the book and that the material is something you are proud of publishing. Books will never go out of business. They might take a different form but they won’t disappear. And if the economy is down now, then this is the best time to start, because it will grow again.

Next up for Saray is Little Pearls, an English-language book by Sarah Ayman, and two Arabic books: one a short story collection and another a play.