The Waking Nightmare

Post-revolutionary Egyptian dystopias

Sun 16 July 2017, 1.30pm
British Library

Literature ·

(clockwise from left) Basma Abdel Aziz, Mohammad Rabie and Ganzeer

(clockwise from left) Basma Abdel Aziz, Mohammad Rabie and Ganzeer (photo: K.P. Norman)


Sun 16 July 2017, 1.30 – 2.45pm
Shubbak at the British Library


Single event ticket: £8 / £6 concs
One day: £16 / £14 concs
Both days: £24 / £22 concs
More info

British Library

Knowledge Centre
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
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Related Events

1 July 2017

Words Without Borders publish newly translated works from a selection of groundbreaking festival artists

Six years after the revolution and in the current climate of suppressed dreams, a new wave of Egyptian writers and artists are blending horror, realism and black humour to reflect on this painful phase of their nation’s history.

Hosted by celebrated literary translator Elisabeth Jaquette, three Egyptians working in the continuum from nightmare present realism to dystopian futurism will read from and discuss their brave work and its troubling context.

Basma Abdel Aziz is an award-winning writer, sculptor, and psychiatrist specialising in the treatment of victims of torture. A long-standing human rights activist in Egypt, she is the author of several works of non-fiction. In 2016 she was named one of Foreign Policy’s Leading Global Thinkers for her debut novel, The Queue, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette.

Ganzeer (joining us remotely via Skype link) is a maker of installations, prints, paintings, videos, objects, guerrilla actions in public spaces, and comix. Like Basma Abdel Aziz, he was named a Foreign Policy Leading Global Thinker in 2016 for his current project, a graphic novel entitled The Solar Grid. Art in America Magazine has referred to his practice as “New Realism.”

Mohammad Rabie’s first novel, Amber Planet, won First Prize in the Emerging Writers category of the Sawiris Cultural Award Competition in 2011. Otared, his third novel, was published in Arabic in early 2015 to much critical attention and appeared in English in 2016, having been shortlisted for the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

Elisabeth Jaquette is a translator from Arabic. Her translation of The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz received an English PEN Translates Award and was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. She is also the recipient of a 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Grant. Her forthcoming translations include The Apartment in Bab el-Louk by Donia Maher, The Frightened by Dima Wannous, and Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun. Elisabeth is also the Managing Director of the American Literary Translators Association, and will be teaching Arabic translation at Hunter College—CUNY in autumn 2017.

Shubbak Literary Collaboration

Words Without Borders Publication

Digital magazine Words Without Borders has published newly translated works including political nonfiction from Egyptian Basma Abdel Aziz; an extract of Nadia Alkokabany’s new novel about the Yemeni revolution; an extract of Mohamed Abdelnabi’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted gay Egyptian novel; and a short play by seminal Libyan playwright Mansour Bushnaf. This special feature is now live on

Shubbak at the British Library

Part of Shubbak at the British Library – two days of inspirational Arab literature, including talks, panel discussions and workshops.
Find out more