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The Yacoubian Building, Rough Draft Festival 2018, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center.
Articles, Reviews, Volume 8

The Yacoubian Building Onstage: An Interview with Kareem Fahmy

The Yacoubian Building Onstage: An Interview with Kareem Fahmy
By Catherine Coray
Arab Stages, Volume 8 (Spring, 2018) 
©2018 by Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Publications

Dr. Alaa Al Aswany’s bestselling Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building was published in Arabic in 2002 and voted Best Novel for 2003 by listeners to Egypt’s Middle East Broadcasting Service. It’s been translated into 23 languages—the well-received English translation by Humphrey Davies appeared in 2006—and was adapted to film in 2006 by Marwan Hamed.

Celebrated by many for its window on Egyptian society under Mubarak’s rule, and reviled by others for its unapologetic depiction of gay life in Cairo. The novel is set in an iconic building (which truly exists—Dr. Al Aswany’s dental office was once located there) that was built to house Cairo’s elite. By the 1990s, it was home to a more diverse population, from a “fading aristocrat,” to a gay newspaper editor, to a poor young student who is “feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism.”

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