Writing, Teaching, Living: Egyptian Novelist Radwa Ashour

Radwa Ashour with Tamim and Mourid Barghouti

Radwa Ashour hasn’t been in the news during Egypt’s revolutionary period—she was hospitalized through all of it, undergoing four surgeries—but she has nonetheless been a significant force in Egypt’s changing landscape. Ashour has effected change as a writer, a professor, and an activist.

From Al Masry Al Youm:

Celebrated author Radwa Ashour—whose Granada trilogy was voted one of the top 100 literary works by the Arab Writers Union, and who has confidently and authoritatively taught hundreds of students to love literature—has not had an easy relationship with writing.

In 1969, at the age of 23, Ashour, with a well-crafted short story under her belt, traveled to a young writers’ conference in Zagazig.

“Looking around me, I saw Bahaa Taher, Yehia El-Taher Abdallah, Ibrahim Aslan, Abdel-Hakim Qasim, Amal Dunqul and others,” she previously told Al Ahram. All of these men were already accomplished. “And what had I written, apart from one short story that proved nothing? This scared me even more and I stopped writing.”

Of course, she did start writing again (more than a decade later). To find out why, read on….