Food for thought
A word from the Editor-in-Chief Hosny Guindy
Time for forgiveness?
Mona Anis revels in a 1960s memoir vividly chronicling the underground life of Egypt's angry young writers
A sun which leaves no shadows
Mokhtarat (Selections), Ghaleb Halasa, Al-Ahram (Kitab fi Garida), February 1999
Mothering the populace
The Pure and the Powerful, Studies in Contemporary Muslim Society, Nadia Abu Zahra, London: Garnet Publishing,1997. pp.308
Lights, camera, chit-chat
Cairo: From Edge to Edge, essay by Sonallah Ibrahim and photographs by Jean Pierre Ribière, Cairo: AUC Press, 1998. pp21+ 70 photographs
The art of conversation
Tawfiq El-Hakim Yatathakar (Tawfiq El-Hakim Reminisces), ed Gamal El-Ghitani. Cairo: Supreme Council of Culture, 1998. pp183
Not quite another country
Alnesaeyat, Malak Hefny Nassef. Cairo: The Women and Memory Forum publications, 1998. pp246
Journey of a giraffe
Zarafa, Michael Allin, London: Headline Book Publishing, 1998. pp215
Village life from within
Denys Johnson-Davies offers insight into Mohamed El-Bisatie's work, and translates an extract from his new novel, appearing this Saturday in the Al-Hilal series
And the Train Comes
Illustrations courtesy of International Commitee of the Red Cross
"Folk drawings and tales", Cairo, 1996
Food for thoughtBy Hosny Guindy
Starting with this issue, Al-Ahram Weekly will be launching a new books supplement, to appear every second Thursday of the month. This supplement, we hope, will extend our coverage of books in Arabic, as well as books pertinent to the Arab world in foreign languages, thus serving as a new forum for intellectual exchange and commentary. Readers may expect contributions not only from our current commentators, but also from a variety of new voices, all of whom have been asked for the kind of extended and in-depth pieces for which we do not currently have space. A major project of the Weekly's, the supplement will, we hope, open up Arab cultural exchange with the rest of the world.
We launch the supplement at an important moment. Recent years have seen a sharp increase in intellectual production across the Arab world and an explosion in the range and variety of Arab writing. A new generation is busy defining itself. Older generations, spurred on by political and social change, are reinterpreting the conflicts of previous decades. Intellectual positions that had taken on an established character are in a plain state of modification. Change surrounds us, and Arab journalism, especially Arab journalism in English, has been hard pressed to keep up. If the Weekly's supplement helps the reader to appreciate something of the change and intellectual excitement that is taking place in the Arab world, it will have substantially served its purpose.
Recent years have seen striking additions to established intellectual debates, in feminist criticism for example, but also in the critique of religious discourse, the appreciation of the specificity of the common Arab past and possibilities for the Arab future. Across the Arab world, new audiences are developing with new access to apparatuses of cultural diffusion and exchange. Information technology, satellite television, the explosion of Arab popular culture in music technology, the existence of a major corpus of Arab writing in French and English, the growth of Arab publishing industries in London and Paris: all these have been features of the last decade. It seemed time to try to take stock of these developments in a regular forum.
We hope, lastly, that the Weekly's new supplement will be read as part of the project that has guided the newspaper since its inception. That project we have defined as one of interaction between the Arab world, the South and the West. Post-Cold War Western hegemony is blighting the countries of the South. That blight has a cultural dimension. We hope that our project, which is to write of Arab cultural affairs from Cairo for an Arab and non-Arab audience, will be seen as part of an alternative for a future multipolar world.