Disappearing Professions, Memoirs, and Myths: Mophradat’s 2020 Writing Sabbatical Grants

Mophradat has announced the recipients of the 2020 Writing Sabbatical Grants:

The six recipients were selected from among nearly 100 applications that came from across the region. Decisions were made with the assistance of a jury that included authors Ahmed Naje, Hussam Hilali, and Samar Yazbek, and playwright and researcher Meriam Bousselmi.

The program supports three-month sabbaticals dedicated to the completion of new writing.

The six supported writers are:

Ahmed Kamel (b. 1981, Egypt) for the completion of a collection of short stories exploring disappearing professions in Egypt. Titled Ayyam min Hadid (Days of Iron), the book explores the lives of people still practicing these specialized vocations as a family tradition.

Basma Nagy (b. 1985, Egypt) for completing her novel Thol Harr Lilawn Bared (Warm Shade for a Cold Color) in which the protagonist Egyptian-Swedish Yara, traces the journey of the Swedish artist Ivan Aguéli, who travelled to Egypt in the early 20th century and became a Sufi Sheikh. His journey seems to intersect with Yara’s reality, reinforcing her feeling of isolation, loss, and loneliness.

Hanaa Metwely (b. 1990, Egypt) for Al Ghariqat (The Drowned), a novel dealing with oppression and discrimination against women grounded in popular myths in patriarchal rural society in Egypt. The story takes place in a village where the protagonist witnesses suspicious drownings of women and the trafficking of pharaonic antiquities, weapons, and slave trading.

Mina Nagy (b. 1987, Egypt) for a writing project in two parts: The first reflects on the writer’s long-term experience of agoraphobia, and how he coped with it through writing and exploring works by Beckett, Kafka, C. P. Cavafy, and others. The second part takes the form of a diary that brings together memories, thoughts, reflections, and poetry as the writer’s attempt to deal with the his grief following the sudden loss of his mother.

Rim Mugahed (b. 1986, Yemen) for writing a novel about contemporary Yemeni society being stuck on the one hand between forces of oppression and ignorance, and those of opportunism and exploitation on the other hand. The novel focusses specifically on women, their worries, their fears, and their dangerous paths to attain their freedom and self-realization.

Wessal Yousef (b. 1988, Palestine) for the writing of Al Ramaq Al Akhir Fi Almoutawasset (The Last Breath of the Mediterranean), a travelogue narrating her seven years spent in Tangier. She recounts the experiences she had, while digging into the history of the places she visited and stories of people she encountered, and reflecting on how she overcame social and linguistic barriers.

This program is partially supported by the Federal Foreign Office, Germany.