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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Did Egypt’s Novelists Inspire The Protests In Tahrir Square?

Egyptians review Arabic novels and poetry at the Cairo Book fair in Egypt in 2010. (AP)

Egyptians review Arabic novels and poetry at the Cairo Book fair in Egypt in 2010. (AP)

It took those huge crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to bring down former president Hosni Mubarak. But for many in that crowd, a key turning point came in 2003.

That’s when, as journalist Robyn Creswell writes in Harper’s Magazine, author Sonallah Ibrahim declined a major state award, saying, “we no longer have any theater, cinema, scientific research, or education… instead … corruption and robbery are everywhere … and whoever speaks out is interrogated, beaten, and tortured. “The government offering the award, Sonallah concluded, “lacks the credibility to bestow it.”

Robyn Creswell is a contributing writer at Harper’s Magazine and poetry editor of the Paris Review. We speak with him about Egyptian novelists before and after the Egyptian revolution.


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  • Gary Pylant

    i constantly have to defend the objectivity of npr to my friends here in the south, and today you just blew it in your interview on yesterday’s storms. you specifically asked if these storms could be attributed to global warming – i cringed when i heard the question. if you have an agenda, you don’t belong on npr.

  • Robin Young

    All due respect Gary, I just disagree.

    If I’d SAID it was climate change, that’s one thing.
    But I ASKED if it was. He said no.

    So far, we haven’t outlawed questions!

    All best,
    (truly!)
    Robin

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