Sonallah-Ibrahim-EgyptRenowned author and political activist, Sonallah Ibrahim, studied law and drama at Cairo University before becoming a journalist in 1956. During Nasser's campaign against the Left, Ibrahim was imprisoned from 1959 until the general amnesty of 1964. He briefly returned to journalism with the Egyptian News Agency in Cairo, Beirut and later East Berlin, before moving to Moscow to study cinematography from 1971 to 1974. His first novel,The Smell of It, which describes the daily routine of an ex-political prisoner in a factual, objective style, was immediately banned in Egypt . Only in 1986 did the complete version appear in Egypt, Sudan and Morocco simultaneously. The Committee, is probably the first Arabic novel to expose the role of the Multinationals and the effects of Sadat's Open Door economic policies on Egyptian society. Corruption, exploitation and ever-increasing American influence come to light as the hero is investigated in a series of Kafkaesque sessions shot through with black humour. His photographic essay, Cairo from Edge to Edge (1999), is a rich and highly original portrait of a city, seen through the lens of photographer J P Ribierre and Sonallah's pen. Sonallah Ibrahim has been described as “a writer whose novels not only document Egypt's most recent history, they testify to their author's inventiveness, his continuing interest in technique and experimentation, his humane and perceptive portrayal of his characters, and his mastery of different kinds of tone – light-hearted mockery, satire and tragedy.” In 1998 his novelSharaf was awarded best Egyptian novel, and in October 2003 he was awarded the prestigious prize of the Arab Novelist Assembly, and stunned the pan-Arab literary gathering (including government officials) by denouncing the prize because “It is given by a government that does not have credibility”.

 

Publications:

Tilka Al Raeha, Cairo, 1966, The Smell of It,Heinemann, 1971

Negmat Augusts, (Star of August), Damascus 1974, Cairo 1976

Al-lagna, Beirut, 1981, Cairo, 1982, The Committee, English Seracuse University Press, 2001

Beirut Beirut, Dar Elmostakbal ElArabi, Cairo, 1984

Zaat, Dar Elmostakbal ElArabi, Cairo, 1992

Sharaf, Dar Elhilal, Cairo, 1997, Actes Sud, 1999

Warda, Dar Elmostabkbal ElArabi, Cairo, Actes Sud, 2002

Amrekanly, Dar Elmostabkbal ElArabi, Cairo, 2003