In Profile – Ahmed El-Aidi and Rajaa Alsanea

In Profile – Ahmed El-Aidi and Rajaa Alsanea
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© Florence Aigner

Ahmed El-Aidi was born in Saudi Arabia in 1974, and arrived in Cairo aged 15 as a result of the 1990 Gulf War. His work is seen as making an important contribution in the Arab world to a fresh generation of self-styled ‘New Novelists’. For further biographical details, background information and interviews, follow the links below:

Article by Youssef Rakha

Interview from Al-Ahram Weekly Online: February 2004

Article from Daily News Egypt

A wikipedia entry linking El Aidi to the 'New Novel' movement



Rajaa Alsanea grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the daughter of a family of doctors. Originally released in Arabic in 2005, her debut novel Girls of Riyadh was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia due to its allegedly controversial and inflammatory content. Black-market copies circulated and the daring originality of the novel created a enormous stir all over the Arab world. The book has been a bestseller across much of the Middle East. The English translation of the novel is published in the UK by Fig Tree. For further biographical details, background information and interviews, follow the links below:

Article from the Telegraph on the novel Girls of Riyadh

Youtube interview with Rajaa Alsanea

Article from the Observer on the novel Girls of Riyadh

Review from The Independent on the Girls of Riyadh


The Poetry Translation Centre was established by poet Sarah Maguire in 2004 to translate contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America to a high literary standard.







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