Sunday, September 25, 2011

New written worlds

Egyptian writer Mansoura Ezeldin and Yemeni poet and novelist Ali Al Muqri hail from a region known for repressive regimes and rocked recently by people's upheavals for change. In New Delhi as panellists at The Hindu Lit for Life conclave, they talk to Subash Jeyan on what it means to be a writer, to engage in their own different ways with the issues important to them...
Writing is a way to freedom and a weapon against the many injustices in society. Yet, she insists, a writer is not a mere spokesperson for his/her nation or people. Meet Mansoura Ezeldin.

Tell us about your work with Akhbar al-Adab... and the contemporary literary scene in Egypt today…
I was the book review editor at Akhbar al-Adab literary newspaper till last month. I have taken a year off to finish my new novel because I wanted to devote all my time to writing. The contemporary literary scene in Egypt is really rich. Since 2002, we've been having a flourishing period; many bookstores have opened and many independent publishers support daring experimental writing, and we have a good readership compared to the 1980s and 90s. Egyptian literature, especially that written by the new generation, is daring and breaches many taboos and also beautifully written at the same time.

How are contemporary women writers in Egypt contributing to social change? What are some of their predominant concerns?
Egyptian women in general were in the forefront of demonstrations during the revolution. And many Egyptian women writers were with them. Women writers also play an important role through their novels and essays and columns in newspapers. There are many female political and social activists who are fighting now for a secular, democratic country. Many of them, including myself, don't want the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists to come to power. Because a possible victory of the Muslim Brotherhood will worsen Egyptian women's position as they have a backward, negative image of women. But I'm not afraid of them. Fear gets you nowhere. We're fighting a battle for building a new democratic country and in such a battle fear is the worst enemy.

Full interview here Hindu

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