Bulaq 46: ‘A Woman Shaped by Fear’

The book we discussed in episode 46 — The Frightened Ones, by Dima Wannous, newly translated to English by Elisabeth Jaquette — turned out to be unusually suited to the moment:

In “A Woman Shaped by Fear,” we talk about the Wannous’ haunting novel, in lucid, vibrant translation by Jaquette. It’s a book about fear, panic and anxiety — in one’s body and society, between generations and lovers — that is also somehow a great pleasure to read.


The Frightened Ones was shortlisted for the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction; its English translation is now out in the UK and forthcoming in the US.

We discussed the work of Wannous’ father, the brilliant playwright Sa’adallah Wannous, in Episode 28, “Sentenced to Hope.”

We mentioned concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Egyptian prisons. Political prisoner Alaa Abdel Fattah wrote an essay on health and prison before the pandemic.

Listen now: A Woman Shaped by Fear.