Art Installation at Kuwait Book Fair Protesting Censorship Removed

According to AFP, Saad al-Anzi, who heads the fair, said the information ministry had banned 948 books from among those screened for the fair.

Religion and Fiction in Egypt: (Self) Censorship is Part of the Problem

...the present kind of censorship by say, religious conservatives, is much more damaging and much more frightening for the writer because you don’t know exactly who you are offending, where the threat is coming from or what the possible punishment might be. When the state was exercising censorship, you knew: the book would be banned and you’d be stopped from writing for a while--maybe even go to prison for a little while if it was really bad. All this is awful, of course, but at least it's calculable.

Magdy El-Shafee’s /Metro/ Not Available in Arabic, or English, But You Will Find It in…Italian

Thanks to translator Barbara Benini for this tip. (Benini is the Italian translator of Ahmed Nagi's Rogers.) Metro, a graphic novel penned by blogger/artist Magdy al-Shafee, is not available here in Cairo after having been yanked from shelves in 2009. The Qasr el Nil Court of Misdemeanors upheld the book's ban in November of last … Continue reading Magdy El-Shafee’s /Metro/ Not Available in Arabic, or English, But You Will Find It in…Italian

Gamal al-Ghitani on the 1,001 Nights and the Egyptian Cultural Scene

Gamal al-Ghitani is interviewed in this week's Qantara, mostly on the topic of the latest legal wrangling over 1,001 Nights. With all due respect to a greater literary mind, I must disagree with al-Ghitani's statement that there is no government censorship of media (newspapers can, for instance, criticize Hosni now?). However, I certainly agree that … Continue reading Gamal al-Ghitani on the 1,001 Nights and the Egyptian Cultural Scene

Well, This Isn’t Going to Help Us Read Arabic: The Kerfuffle Over /Arabian Nights/

A new English version of The Arabian Nights, translated by Malcolm and Ursula Lyons, is making its way around the English-speaking world. It's apparently quite beautifully done, and also quite expensive. The version that recently came out in Cairo was edited by renowned novelist Gamal al-Ghitani, and part of a low-priced, state-sponsored series. Although also, … Continue reading Well, This Isn’t Going to Help Us Read Arabic: The Kerfuffle Over /Arabian Nights/

Christian and Muslim Lawyers Join Hands in Seeking to Ban Books

Now isn't that a touching image? A recent hesba case against Yousef Ziedan's "Arabic Booker"-winning Azazeel apparently has brought together book banners from both Christian and Muslim camps. According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) , "Christian  lawyers have joined the neo actio popularis team in Egypt and demanded a five year … Continue reading Christian and Muslim Lawyers Join Hands in Seeking to Ban Books