Rest In Peace, Ibrahim Aslan

The great Ibrahim Aslan (1935-2012) died yesterday after entering the hospital with heart trouble. He was 77.

His funeral will be held today at the Mosque of Bilal bin Rabah in Moqattam, according to Shorouk News. Numerous writers, friends, and readers have expressed their sorrow at the loss.

From acclaimed Egyptian novelist Radwa Ashour, on Twitter, “Short sentences; words calculated as though their author were anxious to keep them from harm. Fos7a saturated with colloquial. Sorrow blended with laughter. I’m referring to the methods of Ibrahim Aslan.”

From novelist and journalist Mansoura Ez Eldin on Facebook: “With you, we say goodbye to a cherished part of our memory and our relationship to writing and culture.”

Popular author Bilal Fadl wrote on Twitter that Ibrahim Aslan’s work is widely available, adding, that, “An author does not die unless people stop reading him.”

And Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti added, also on Twitter, “The most beautiful of the Nile’s birds leaves the lake this evening. Goodbye Ibrahim Aslan.”**

On Aslan:

ArabLit: Ibrahim Aslan on His Regrets: ‘I Was A Little Too Afraid of Writing’

Mohammad Shoair at Al Ahram: The old man and the river

Excerpts of Aslan’s work:

“Training,” trans. Maya Abu-Deeb

Excerpts of his books in Arabic are available on his Shorouk website.

Literary prizes:

According to Shorouk, Aslan — for his significance and talent — has won relatively few literary prizes. They list: a Taha Hussein award from the University of Minya (1989), a State Incentive Prize (2003-2004), a Contour International Award (2005), and a Sawiris Prize (2006). Many were surprised that Two-bedroom Apartment did not merit recognition by the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

Also: The Heron (in English translation by Elliott Colla) was voted one of the top 100 novels of the past century by the Arab Writers Union.


Youssef Rakha on Khilwet Al-Ghalban (The Poor Man’s Hermitage)

David Tresilian on Equipe de nuit (Wardiyyat Layl), trans. Amina Rachid and Arlette Tadié.

Mona Anis on The Heron and Nile Sparrows

Baheyya reviews Shay’un Min Hadha al-Qabil (Something like That)

Tweets and messages about Aslan:

@belalfadl Belal Fadl (Egyptian novelist and journalist)
لو ماكنتش قريت حاجة لعمنا إبراهيم أصلان إبتدي بعملين: خلوة الغلبان وشيئ من هذا القبيل هيدخلوك عالمه وهتحب بعد كده كل ماكتب من قصص وروايات.

@belalfadl Belal Fadl 
أعمال إبراهيم أصلان هتلاقوها في المكتبات كلها وكلها رائعة ومدهشة ومبهجة ومصرية جدا. الكاتب لا يموت إلا إذا توقف الناس عن قراءة أعم

@monaanis Mona Anis (Egyptian journalist)
غداً يوم جديد تغيب عنه مساحة جديدة من الألفة والصداقة والمحبة، غداً يوم جديد بلا ابراهيم أصلان

Miral Al-tahawy (Egyptian novelist)
وفاة ابراهيم اصلان الكاتب الكبير والانسان ذو الروح المحبة المتسامحة تخلف حزنا عميقا في القلب

Mansoura Ez Eldin (Egyptian novelist and journalist)
وداعاً إبراهيم أصلان! برحيلك فقد العالم الكثير من رونقه.. نودع معك جزءاً حميماً من ذاكرتنا وعلاقتنا بالكتابة والثقافة!

@radwa46 radwa ashour (Egyptian novelist)
الجمل القصيرة الكلمات المحسوبة كأنما يتوجس كاتبها مما تحمله له من أذى. فصحى مشبعة بالعامية. أسى مضفور بالضحك. أتحدث عن أسلوب إبراهيم أصلان.

Ahmed Alaidy (Egyptian novelist)
‎”كل الأوجاع الحقيقية في حياة أي إنسان عصية على التعبير.. ولا توجد لغة فنية تكافئها تماماً.” – إبراهيم أصلان

@MouridBarghouti Mourid Barghouti (Palestinian poet)
أنا لا أكتب ألمي، أنا أكتب به / إبراهيم أصلان

@MouridBarghouti Mourid Barghouti
مات جبرتي امبابة إبراهيم أصلان. أنا حزين

@MouridBarghouti Mourid Barghouti
أجمل عصافير النيل يغادر بحيرة المساء. وداعاً إبراهيم أصلان

@Zeinobia Zeinobia (Egyptian blogger)
RIP Ibrahim Aslan !! Oh God…

@HaniShukrallah Hani Shukrallah (Egyptian journalist)
Farewell Ibrahim Aslan great writer great man condolences to family friends Egypt

@Beeros75 A. Dreamer.
“It is not about knowing people, it is about feeling them.” Ibrahim Aslan. #R.I.P

@kennarah Karim Medhat Ennarah
RIP Ibrahim Aslan, Egypt’s Mark Twain by virtue of his hair and moustache, Chronicler of Imbaba and Kitkat

Selected bibliography:

Buhayrat al-Misa’ (Evening Lake, 1971)

Yusuf wa al- rida’ (Yusuf and the Dress 1986)

Malek al-Hazin (The Heron, 1983) – trans. Elliott Colla, AUC Press

Wardiyat Layl (Night Shift, 1991).

Asafir al-Nil (Nile Sparrows, 1999) – trans. Mona El-Ghobashy, AUC Press

Hikayat min Fadlallah Uthman (Stories from Fadlallah Uthman, 2003).

Khelwat al-Ghalban (Solitary Retreat, 2003)

Shay’un Min Hadha al-Qabil (Something like That, 2007)

Hagretayn w Sala (Two-bedroom Apartment, 2009)

One of Aslan’s inspirations:

and a reason he began to write, was Anton Chekhov’s “The Death of a Government Clerk.”

On writing, from Ahmed Alaidy:

From a graphic novelized version of Two-bedroom Apartment, published in TokTok Jan. 2011:

**My translations; please do suggest better.