Today is imprisoned novelist Ahmed Naji’s 31st birthday — happy birthday, Ahmed!
It’s also pub day for the Italian edition of Naji’s Using Life, the novel that allegedly sent a reader’s blood pressure wobbling, such that he submitted a complaint, alerting a prosecutor, eventually leading to a two-year prison sentence for this section of your novel, translated into English by Ben Koerber.
The Italian edition was translated by Elisabetta Rossi and Fernanda Fischione, under the supervision of Barbara Benini, and with graphic work by Francesco Benvenuti.
Using Life’s illustrator Ayman Zorkany — because Using Life is a hybrid book — will be traveling to Italy to present the book at the Festival delle letterature Mediterranee in Lucera in Puglia on September 25. After that, there will also be a launch in Rome.
In addition, when Zorkany gets back to Egypt, he’ll be working on a new edition of Using Life, set to come out from Dar Merit.
Also today, fans and friends of Naji and free speech will be tweeting birthday cards with the tag #NajiBirthday. All ages and skill levels welcome.
PEN International has written up an action alert; they note “You can tweet your messages using the #NajiBirthday hashtag, or you can send a letter or birthday card to email@example.com or to PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK.”