Classic Bulaq: ‘Love and Silence, Rediscovering Enayat al-Zayyat’

This week’s Bulaq is a re-run, the episode focused on Iman Mersal’s In the Footsteps of Enayat al-Zayyat:

In 1993, the Egyptian poet and writer Iman Mersal picked up an unknown novel by a forgotten writer from the 60s. And so began her long wanderings in search of Enayat El Zayat. El Zayat killed herself in 1963, four years before her book “Love and Silence” was finally published. Mersal’s portrait of El Zayat is a remarkable work of research, empathy and imagination.

Show Notes: 

This episode focuses on Iman Mersal’s In the Footsteps of Enayat al-Zayyat (في أثر عنايات الزيات)published by Kotob Khan Books in late 2019.

The author Enayat al-Zayyat (1936-63) finished one novel, which was published in 1967.

Love and Silence ‫(الحب و الصمت) ‬ was recently republished and is available on Google Play.

Al-Zayyat was also working on a second novel, based around the German Egyptologist Ludwig Keimar; you can read Isolde Lehnert on Keimar.

As a bonus, you’ll hear Mersal read a passage from the book.

Listen to the full episode at Sowt, or however you prefer your podcasts.


  1. How wonderful that her work has been brought back to life and honoured in this way. Any likelihood of an English translation?

    1. Absolutely! There will definitely be an English translation, and French, and I would hope German as well. I’m not sure about dates but we’ll share as soon as I know anything.

  2. thanks so much for this wonderful article. Speak of women writers who should get more attention, could ArabLit do an article on Malak ‘Abd al-‘ِAziz please? Since I read Aghani al-Siba last year I’ve had a dream of translating it 🙂

    1. Indran! Consider whether you want to be the one who writes something for us about Malak ‘Abd al-‘ِAziz . . .

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