May Telmissany


Born in Cairo, 1965, May Telmissany (مي التلمساني) is an Egyptian-Canadian novelist and university professor. Her first novel Dunyazad (1997) was translated into six different languages (including the English version by Roger Allen, London: Saqi Books, and the French version by Mona Latif-Ghattas, Paris: Actes-Sud). Dunyazad was awarded the Ulysses Prize for Best first novel in 2002 in France and the State Prize for autobiographical novel in Cairo the same year.

Telmissany’s second novel, Heliopolis, is translated into French (Actes-Sud, 2002). She also published two short stories collections, Naht Motakarer (Repetitive Sculptures, 1995) and Khyanat Thihneya (Mental Betrayals, 1999). Many of her short stories have been translated into several languages, including English, French, German, Swedish and Italian.

May Telmissany is also an assistant professor of cinema and Arabic studies at the University of Ottawa. Her scholarly publications include an authored book on documentary filmmaker Fouad El Tohamy, as well as a co-edited book in French on the cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Heliopolis (Cairo, 2005). Her contribution to the book of photography The Last Hammams of Cairo (American University in Cairo Press, 2009) is a mixture of fiction and scholarly research, including a chapter on the culture of the public bathhouses in cinema.

Her Ph.D. on the representation of popular neighbourhood in Egyptian cinema (Université de Montréal, 2005) is now translated into Arabic and published by the Supreme Council of the Arts Press, Cairo. She also published several articles and chapters of books on Arab culture and Third world cinemas in Canada, France, India and Egypt.

Telmissany’s forthcoming book Counterpoints. Edward Said’s Legacy (London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing) is a co-edited volume celebrating the intellectual and humanistic legacy of Palestinian-American thinker Edward Said. Her current research project (funded by both the University of Ottawa and the Quebec Council for the Arts) is titled: Reel Good Arabs. The Arab filmmakers of the Diaspora.

(From website)

Bibliography: (English)

  • 2009 The Gates of Paradise (Memoirs of an Exile) Sharquiate, Cairo
  • 2009 The Last Hammams of Cairo (Photography and Text) American University in Cairo, Cairo
  • 2000 HeliopoIis (Novel) Charquiate, Cairo
  • 1997 Doniazade (Novel) Charquiate, Cairo
  • 1999 - 2001 Doniazade (Novel) translated into English, French German, Dutch, Catalan and Spanish.
  • 1998 Mental Betrayals (Stories) Organism of Culture Palaces (OCP), Cairo
  • 1995 Repetitive Sculptures (Stories) Charquiate, Cairo


  • 1999 - 2001 Doniazade (Novel) translated into English, French German, Dutch, Catalan and Spanish.
  • 2008 Les Derniers Bains du Caire (Photography and Text) Le Bec en L'Air, Manosque, France
  • 2005 Mémoires Héliopolitainnes (Photography and Text) Bilingual Edition French/ Arabic, in collaboration with Robert Solé and Mercédès Volait, with a preface by Mrs. Susan Moubarak, Cairo, Éditions Harpocrates.
  • 2003 Héliopolis (Novel) translated by Mona Latif-Ghattas, Actes-Sud, Paris

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