Writing (and Translating) Queer Characters in Egyptian Novels


Egyptian novelist and short-story writer Muhammad Abdelnabi was recently in Paris for the launch of his La Chambre de L’Araignée, where he appeared on a panel about “Homoeroticism and Homosexuality in Arab Culture” and later sat down for a talk about writing gay characters into an Egyptian novel, linguistic registers, and loneliness:

By Olivia Snaije

Author Muhammad Abdelnabi and publisher Farouk Mardam-Bey.

Egyptian author Muhammad Abdelnabi was in Paris recently for the French launch of his book La Chambre de L’Araignée, translated by Gilles Gauthier. His 2016 novel centers on a gay man, Hani Mahfouz, who is involved in the unfortunately very real 2001 police raid on the Queen Boat in Cairo. The novel was shortlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction and was published in English last year as In the Spider’s Room, translated by Jonathan Wright. Abdelnabi also won ArabLit’s first…

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