This Arab Women Writers (أديبات عربيات) website is my personal initiative to:
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January 28 - February 12
February 25th- March 7
Mascat Inrenational Book Fair
March 3 - 7
March 4-15Riyadh Internatinal Book Fair
March 27 - April 5
May 7 - 13
Courageous Egyptian writer, academic and translator known for her Granada trilogy
The Guardian: Monday 8 December 2014
Radwa Ashour was a powerful voice among Egyptian writers of the postwar generation and a writer of exceptional integrity and courage. Her work consistently engages with her country’s history and reflects passionately upon it. “I am an Arab woman and a citizen of the third world,” she declared, in an essay for the anthology The View from Within (1994), “and my heritage in both cases is stifled ... I write in self-defence and in defence of countless others with whom I identify or who are like me.”
Through a series of novels, memoirs, and literary studies, Ashour, who has died aged 68 after suffering from cancer, recorded the unending turbulence of her times, as she and her contemporaries struggled for freedoms, from the end of British influence to the recent Arab uprising and its aftermath.
Born in Cairo, Radwa came from a literary and scholarly family: her father, Mustafa Ashour, was a lawyer but had strong literary interests, while her mother, Mai Azzam, was a poet and artist. Radwa evoked in her writing how she was raised to recite the poetic corpus of Arabic literature by her grandfather Abdelwahab Azzam, a diplomat and professor of oriental studies and literature at Cairo University, who first translated the classic Persian Book of Kings (Shahnama) into Arabic, as well as other Oriental classics.
A student of comparative literature, she attended Cairo University during the ferment of the late 1960s and early 70s, attaining her MA in 1972. She then went on to do a PhD at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; in accordance with her concern for human rights and independence, she worked on African-American literature, receiving her doctorate in 1975. She then returned to Cairo, to Ain Shams University, where she taught – in conditions that were often difficult internally and externally – with immense dedication throughout her career, becoming professor of English and comparative literature in 1986, and serving as head of the department of English language and literature from 1990 to 1993.
Political activism was embedded in her academic career; as President Anwar Sadat argued for normalisation with Israel, Ashour helped found the National Committee Against Zionism in Egyptian Universities. Later, as Hosni Mubarak’s police state pushed into academic life, she helped found the March 9 Group for the independence of universities.
"I have cerebral palsy. I shake all the time," Maysoon Zayid announces at the beginning of this exhilarating, hilarious talk. (Really, it's hilarious.) "I'm like Shakira meets Muhammad Ali." With grace and wit, the Arab-American comedian takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled.
Writer, actor, comedian, Maysoon Zayid is the co-founder of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival. Full bio »
Watch her talk here.
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