Photos from Last Night’s Launch of ‘Autostrade’ by Egypt’s First Graphic-novel Publishing House

Today, I’m reading and reviewing the new bilingual graphic-novel collection Autostrade, the first publication out from the newly launched Division Publishing.

I got my copy last night at Bikya Books & Cafe in Nasr City, at a literary event that was not your average eight-person Cairo affair. By the time the books arrived—about an hour into the event, although many people had arrived early—the cash register was crowded with people waving money, trying to get one of the first fifty “limited edition” copies. I got No. 7.

As a literary event to attract readers 18-28, and even a few elders, the staging was brilliant: publicity on Twitter and Facebook and via word of mouth, music, limited-edition copies, signings and a personalized memory of an event. Although I like long readings and detailed Q&As, it’s good to see another sort of literary scene.

I guess, from the sign above, the neighbors didn’t know what they were getting into when a nice, quiet second-hand bookstore moved into their building.

A few photos from the event (you can probably search #Autostrade on Twitter for more):

At around 7:30, we're told that "the book will be here in exactly five minutes."
Anyhow, in the meantime there was music (and live music started later). And some people at the front danced.
After the books started selling, readers were invited to go up to the panel of writers and illustrators and have their copies signed as a memento of the evening. I heard at least one woman say, "I've never done this before!"
"Gee," or Gehad El Sheikh, signing. She did the line drawings for Short Circuit, the first story on the English side.
Don't stand in the corridor!