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Alaa Al Aswany

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Language  Arabic
Name  Alaa Aswany
Nationality  Egypt
Role  Writer

Ethnicity  Egyptian
Parents  Abbas Al-Aswany
Citizenship  Egypt
Movies  The Yacoubian Building
Alaa Al Aswany Quotes by Alaa Al Aswany Like Success
Born  26 May 1957 (age 58) (1957-05-26)
Occupation  Writer, novelist and dentist
Alma mater  Cairo University University of Illinois at Chicago
Education  University of Illinois at Chicago, Cairo University
Books  The Yacoubian Building, Chicago, On the State of Egypt: A, On the State of Egypt: W, Friendly Fire: Tales of Today
Similar People  Belal Fadl, Marwan Hamed, Amr Hamzawy, Mohamed ElBaradei, Yosri Fouda

Alaa al aswany s favorite writers

Alaa Al-Aswany (Arabic: علاء الأسواني‎‎, [ʕæˈlæːʔ elɑsˈwɑːni]; born 26 May 1957) is an Egyptian writer, and a founding member of the political movement Kefaya.


Alaa Al Aswany BBC World Service World Book Club Alaa Al Aswany The

Alaa al aswany on writing about sex

Early life and career

Al-Aswany was born on 26 May 1957. His mother, Zainab, came from an aristocratic family; her uncle was a Pasha and Minister of Education before the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. His father, Abbas Al-Aswany, was from Aswan (in Lower Nubia) and was a lawyer and writer who “is remembered as being a captivating and charismatic speaker with a broad following and loyalty within a cross-section of the Egyptian revolutionary intelligentsia”. Abbas Al-Aswany wrote a regular back-page essay in the Egyptian weekly magazine Rose al-Yūsuf entitled Aswaaniyat. In 1972, he was “the recipient of the state award for literature". He died when Alaa was 19 years old.

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Aswany attended Le Lycée Français in Cairo and received a bachelor's degree in dental and oral medicine at Cairo University in 1980. He went on to pursue a master's degree in dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1985. He speaks Arabic, English, French and Spanish. He studied Spanish literature in Madrid.

Alaa Al Aswany Why I write Alaa Al Aswany Books The Guardian

Al-Aswany married his first wife in his early twenties, she was a dentist, and they had their son Seif, they divorced later. When he was 37, he married Eman Taymoor and they had two daughters, Mai and Nada.

Alaa Al Aswany Why writers make reluctant revolutionaries Books The

He wrote a weekly literary critique entitled "parenthetic phrase" in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Sha'ab, and then became responsible for the culture page in the same newspaper. He wrote a monthly political article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Nasseri and a weekly article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Dustour. Then, he wrote a weekly article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk. Currently, he writes a weekly article in Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesdays. His articles have been published in leading international newspapers such as The New York Times, Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian, The Independent and others.

His second novel, The Yacoubian Building, an ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, has been widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. His literary works have been translated into 31 languages: English, Greek, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Chinese Simplified, Dutch, Turkish, Malay, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Armenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Polish, Portuguese, Icelandic, French, Slovenian, Galician, Spanish, Estonian, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Korean, Swedish, German and Slovak. In 2006, The Yacoubian Building was adapted into “the biggest budget movie ever produced in Egypt”. The movie was screened at international film festivals and was a huge hit in Egypt. However, Al-Aswany was banned from attending the premiere. The Yacoubian Building is one of a few movies that addresses social taboos and widespread governmental corruption, such as the rigging of elections. In fact, many intellectuals believe that this work played a crucial role in triggering revolutionary sentiments among the Egyptian people. Alaa Al-Aswany claims that during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, many protesters approached him and said “We are here because of what you wrote". In 2007, The Yacoubian Building was made into a television series of the same name.

Chicago, a novel set in the city in which the author was educated, was published in January 2007 and his Automobile Club of Egypt was published in English in 2016.

Al-Aswany’s name has also been included in the list of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, issued by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan. He was number one in The Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list 2011.

Al-Aswany participated in the Blue Metropolis literary festival in Montreal, June 2008 and April 2010, and was featured in interviews with the CBC programme Writers and Company.

In October 2010 the Israel/Palestine Centre for Research and Information (IPCRI) said it was offering its Hebrew readers the rare privilege of reading the best-selling Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building. While Al-Aswany refused for the book to be translated into Hebrew and published in Israel, a volunteer had translated it and IPCRI wanted to offer it for free to expand cultural awareness and understanding in the region. Al-Aswany was deeply frustrated by this, as he rejected the idea of normalizing with Israel, and accused the IPCRI and the translator of piracy and theft. Consequently, he complained to the International Publishers Association.

In January 2015, the Gingko Library published Democracy is the Answer: Egypt's Years of Revolution, a collection of newspaper columns written by Al-Aswany for Al-Masry Al-Youm between 2011 and 2014.

Role in the revolution

Al-Aswany was in Tahrir Square each of the 18 days before Mubarak fell from power. In fact, he was one of the few prominent faces of the leaderless revolution. Following Mubarak’s resignation, Alaa Al-Aswany confronted the Mubarak-appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik on an Egyptian channel. Shafik lost his temper under persistent grilling by the novelist and it was the first time for Egyptians to witness a ruler dressed down so severely by a civilian in public. Consequently, it is said that Shafik was fired by the SCAF.


On 27 October 2013, The Blaze ran an article claiming that Al-Aswany is "an anti-Zionist conspiracy theorist".


  • 2005:  KSA Bashraheel Award for Arabic Novel, (Arabic: جائزة باشراحيل للرواية العربية‎‎)
  • 2005:  Greece The International Cavafi Award
  • 2006:  France The Great Novel Award from Toulon Festival
  • 2007:  Italy The Culture Award from The Foundation of The Mediterranean
  • 2007:  Italy Grinzane Cavour Award
  • 2008:  Austria Bruno-Kriesky Award
  • 2008:  Germany Friedrich Award
  • 2010:  USA University of Illinois Achievement Award
  • 2011:  Canada Blue Metropolis Award for Arabic Literature
  • 2012:  Italy Tiziano Terzani Literary Award
  • 2012:  Italy Mediterranean Cultural Award
  • 2012:  Germany Johann Philipp Palm Award
  • References

    Alaa Al Aswany Wikipedia