Youssef Rakha and Joumana Haddad talk to Peter Florence

Fictions – Eyewitness

Abu Dhabi 2020 , 

Youssef Rakha is an Egyptian novelist and journalist who has worked for Al-Ahram Weekly since 1997. He co-founded the English language paper The National in Abu Dhabi in 2007–8 and in 2009 he was selected as one of the best Arab writers under 40, for the Beirut 39 project. His three novels are The Book of the Sultan's Seal, The Crocodiles and its sequel Paolo. The Book of the Sultan’s Seal was awarded the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in 2015. Paolo is the eye-witness account of a man involved in the Egyptian 'revolutionary movement' since 2011, who shares his experiences of the period before the election of Morsi and the struggles going on behind the scenes but is not all he appears to be.

Lebanese editor, poet and novelist Joumana Haddad has published several widely acclaimed poetry collections, including I Did Not Commit Enough Errors, Lilith's Return, The Panther Hiding at the Base of her Shoulders, Bad Habits, and The Mirrors of Passers By. She was also selected for the Beirut 39 celebration. Her books have been translated into many languages and published internationally. Her first novel The Seamstress' Daughter is a beautiful and exacting examination of four generations of women across the last century in the Middle East.