ArabLit and 7iber are jointly covering this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) – in English and Arabic — beginning with reviews of the novels and interviews with longlisted novelists. We continue with Ibrahim Abdelmeguid’s Clouds Over Alexandria, a book that Abdelmeguids says follows the time when “President Sadat formed a coalition with the backward Islamist movement, and bigoted Wahhabi and Salafi thought infiltrated the city.”
Ibrahim Abdelmeguid was born in 1946, just after WWII, in Alexandria, Egypt. He got his BA in philosophy from Alexandria University and left to live in Cairo in 1975. He is the author of 14 novels and five short story collections. A number of his novels have been translated into English, including: Distant Train, The Other Place, and the first two novels in his Alexandria trilogy: No One Sleeps in Alexandria and Birds of Amber.
Abdelmeguid has received both the Egyptian State Prize for Literature and the Sawiris Prize for his novel In Every Week there is a Friday (2009).
Clouds Over Alexandria takes place in the 1970s, when “the cosmopolitan spirit which has characterised the city throughout history has disappeared. In place of the melting pot of ethnicities, religions and cultures comes intolerance and hatred, destroying Alexandria’s secular traditions.”
Mohga Hassib’s interview with Abdelmeguid: ‘The Hero Is the City’
Nesreen Salem’s review of Clouds Over Alexandria: An Overpopulated Requiem for a City
For those in Cairo, Abdelmeguid is signing his new novel, This is Cairo, at the Cairo Book Fair at 4 p.m. this Saturday at the Dar al-Mirsiyya al-Libnaniyya booth.