AUC Press and Sampsonia Way both recently conducted interviews with one-time philosopher and now-novelist Hamdy al-Gazzar (@hamdyelgazzar) about his first novel, Black Magic (trans. Humphrey Davies), which won a Sawiris Award, and the red lines crossed by his more recent novel, Private Pleasures (trans. Davies):

hamdy_algazzarAUCP interview:

“I started to publish when I was twenty, when I was a student in the section of philosophy in Cairo University … For about 15 years, I tried to achieve my first novel. …¬†Writing itself was very hard for me, and it makes me very cross with myself.¬†But after 20 years…writing, for me, means life.”

As a novelist, “You’re speaking to the present and the future at the same time.”

Sampsonia Way interview:

“Writing for me is to speak about love, to speak about passion. You can’t speak about love or passion or even any human being…and ignore to speak about sex. Sex here is an element to discover the human being, to discover the nature of a relationship between a man and a woman, between us and nature, between us and God, and sensation is very important, because it’s our life.”

“Every text has its own life in its original language, what the translator tries to do is to discover the spirit of the language…and try to let it live in his own language. … I think I am lucky with Humphrey Davies, indeed. … In the end, it’s his own translation, it’s not my work in English.”

More:

Excerpts from and here

Excerpts from al-Gazzar’s work on Jadaliyya

Al-Gazzar’s column on Sampsonia Way