Classic Novel by Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi About Egyptian Revolution Republished to Celebrate 70 Years Anniversary

Classic Novel by Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi About Egyptian Revolution Republished to Celebrate 70 Years Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Egyptian Earth, a classic Egyptian novel by the renowned writer Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi. On February 6, Saqi Books released a new edition of the book, translated from Arabic into English by Desmond Stirling Stewart and with an introduction by Robin Ostle.

This novel is a significant work of African literature, as it reflects the influence of the 1952 Egyptian Revolution and the aspirations for freedom in the midst of turmoil. Al-Sharqawi published his novel in 1954, two years after the revolution that toppled King Farouk and established a republic free from foreign domination. The revolution was driven by nationalism, pan-Arabism and anti-imperialism.

After 70 years, many Egyptians still struggle to achieve the ideals of freedom and equality. Egyptian Earth shows the strength and spirit of the Egyptian people in the face of adversity. In a time of social change and political instability, this novel reminds us of the importance of community, solidarity, and collective action.

Egyptian Earth was the first novel by Al-Sharqawi (1920–1987), who was a celebrated writer and a leader of the innovative movement in Arabic poetry. He came from a peasant family in the Egyptian province of Menoufia and his first works appeared when he was a student at the University of Cairo, where he graduated in 1943. Al-Sharqawi was a vocal political activist, who advocated for democracy, social justice, religious tolerance and true faith. His novels, short stories, poetry and plays were praised for their realism and social relevance.

The translator, Desmond Stirling Stewart, was a British writer and journalist who spent many years in Baghdad, Beirut and Cairo. He wrote several books on Egyptian and Arabic culture and history. The foreword writer, Dr Robin Ostle, is an Emeritus Research Fellow in Modern Arabic at St John’s College. He is a co-founder of the Journal of Arabic and Middle Eastern Literatures.

We congratulate the Saqi Books team and al-Sharqawi, Stewart, and Ostle on this 70th anniversary reissue! You can buy it here.

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