Miral al-Tahawi (ميرال الطحاوى) writes short stories and novels in Classical Arabic, which she learnt at the University of Cairo in her late twenties. Until she left for Cairo at the age of 26, al-Tahawy had never left her village (Geziret Saoud in the Eastern Nile delta) without a male relative or guardian.
She managed to avoid marriage by working as a teacher, and then by leaving without permission to study not only Arabic, but also Hebrew, Persian, Urdu and English. Born in 1968 into the Bedouin al-Hanadi tribe, she credits her liberal-minded father with the fact that both she and her older sister (who is a pharmacist) obtained an education, although they lived in traditional seclusion.
Her experience of coming to the city for the first time and gaining her freedom inspired her to write. In 1995, she published a collection of short stories Riem al-barai al-mostahila (The Exceptional Steppe Antelope) based on childhood memories and her grandmother’s stories. She was taken up by Hosni Soliman, whose Sharqiyyat publishing house defined the 1990s generation of Egyptian writers.
Her success gained the respect and pride of her family. Three novels followed: Al-Khibaa (The Tent, 1996), Al-Badhingana al-zarqa (The Blue Aubergine) and Naquarat al-Zibae (The Gazelle's Tracks), the first two of which have been translated into English by the American University in Cairo Press. Her work has also appeared in the UK's Banipal magazine.
(From PenAtlas.org website)
(Translated from Arabic to English)